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"Son of Concorde" Prototype Flies from London to Sydney in Four Hours

Travelers Today       By    Carly Okyle

Updated: Jun 25, 2012 01:11 PM EDT

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The Concorde -- a supersonic jet that flew for British Airways and Air France -- was able to fly from New York to London or Paris in half the time that a regular commercial flight would take. The model was retired in 2003, after a crash three years before which killed over 100 people.

The world is a fast-paced place, though, and aircraft manufacturers are not ready to give up on incredibly fast planes. Now, the aeronautical engineers in the U.S. from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Gulfstream, and NASA are working to create a "supersonic commercial passenger airliner, aimed initially at the business jet market, reports News.com.au.

According to the Huffington Post, a prototype is set to be revealed next month at the Farnborough air show in London.

Using lighter materials, new technology, and a different design that calls for smaller fuselages, the new jet prototype, codenamed X-54 and given the nickname "Son of Concorde," can fly nearly twice as fast as it's predecessor. In fact, the Sunday Times said that while the Concorde could reach speeds of 2,187 kilometers per hour, "the [new prototypes of] jets will carry passengers at speeds in excess of 4000 km/h." This would mean traveling the 16,000 kilometers between London and Sydney in an estimated four hours.

In addition to the new design and technology that allows for faster speeds, engineers have also figured out how to fix the problem of the sonic boom. The Concorde would leave a sonic boom in it's wake because of its velocity, but engineers have figured out how to reduce that to something "closer to a puff or plop."

The new class of supersonic jets won't be ready to fly passengers until after the year 2020.

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