OK, now we've got the Chinese off the starting blocks with a serious space program, Airbus has taken a chunk out of Boeing's ass and has the 380 in the wings ready to go head to head with the 747-400 and now this...
We REALLY need to get off our ass and start putting this country back in the game... that's assuming we haven't outsourced everybody to India yet.
Firm considers 'son of Concorde'
A successor to supersonic jet Concorde is being considered by aerospace giant EADS, the group has confirmed.
The European firm is looking into developing a hypersonic jet with Japanese partners, a London-based spokesman said.
Chief executive Philippe Camus unveiled the plans at an aerospace industry event in Japan last week, French newspaper reports said.
However, the spokesman added no firm timescale was in place for replacing Concorde, which retired last month.
The hypersonic plane would be able to travel at twice the speed of Concorde, meaning it could fly between Paris and Tokyo in two hours, Mr Camus told the French newspaper Liberation.
He added that the market was not currently able to support the launch of a commercial programme, but there was currently "collaboration" between Europe and Japan on engines for the jet.
"Working groups are considering it," he said.
EADS would be well placed to develop such a project.
The group is Europe's biggest aerospace company and the second largest worldwide - employing more than 100,000 people at 70 production sites worldwide.
The company, which relies heavily on its core Airbus operations, was formed July 2000 and is listed on the French, German and Spanish stock exchanges.
Meanwhile, the Sunday Express reported that EADS has started talks with Japanese manufacturers and Miti - Japan's trade ministry - to develop the jet.
The aircraft would be capable of flying 7,000 miles non-stop and would carry 300 passengers, double the capacity of Concorde.
Reports also claim the jet's noise levels would be far lower than those of Concorde - which led to the plane being unable to fly certain routes - and much more similar to those of a Boeing 747 which would enable it to operate far more widely.
Concorde made its final commercial passenger flight for British Airways between London and New York on 23 October.
Air France, the only other airline to operate the jet commercially, withdrew it from service in May.
Japan's last supersonic jet test ended in failure
The companies decided to retire the famous aircraft after 27 years because it was no longer profitable.
However, previous plans for a Concorde rival have failed to get off the ground, which may give EADS some food for thought.
In 2002, Boeing said it was shelving plans for a "sonic cruiser" which would carry passengers at almost the speed of sound.
The jet had been touted as a competitor for Airbus's A380 Superjumbo, which with its passenger seat capacity of 555 will be the world's largest commercial passenger jet when it enters service next year.
Boeing executives decided they would not be able to sell the aircraft in market conditions geared towards efficiency - one of the reasons behind Concorde's retirement.
Meanwhile, Japan recently suffered a huge setback last summer when a test for a model of a planned supersonic passenger jet ended in failure.
A scale model of the aircraft crashed to the ground shortly after take-off at a test site in South Australia.
Who is John Galt?
There is no market for a supersonic jet in the US, so why bother?
Supersonic passenger jet travel is a sketchy solution looking for a problem. The actual flight itself is the most stress-free part of air travel for me. The PITA is getting to the airport 2 hours early, dealing with incompetent "security" types, screwy connections and a seemingly arbitrary price structure for the fares. I cannot imagine how long it's going to take to load and unload an Airbus A380 with upwards of 600 pax, most of which are so-called "leisure" travelers. Look, it takes me 24 hours to get to Egypt from Kansas City. That's on 737-800s on the long domestic segment, 777 over the pond, and A320s from Europe - basically state-of-the-art equipment. You know how long the same trip took in 1975? 24 hours. A quarter-century of progress in air travel, and the net savings in travel time is zilch. Sure, the level of comfort is greater, but beyond that, everything else is the same or worse.
What is the benefit of a supersonic passenger jet when what most of the traveling public is looking for a cheap ride to Vegas or spring break? These slobs that get on the plane in their pajamas and flip-flops, then complain because it's coild at FL360, don't give a rip about how fast the plane is going. They're just happy to get a whole can of Mountain Dew to wash down their kibble.
That said, I'd buy the first ticket on the new plane!
This new design may be "quieter" when flying subsonic, but avoiding booming when flying supersonic pretty much contradicts the laws of physics. That rules out its use over CONUS and most parts of eco-friendly Europe. I agree with [b]DzlBenz[/b] – The real breakthroughs will be in making flying tolerable for passengers once again. With all the new security measures, that's a tall order.