Supersonic Dream: Problems of Supersonic Transport and the Concord

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What is the different between supersonic flight and subsonic flight? The term “supersonic” and “subsonic” are used to describe the travel speed in Mach unit in which “supersonic” is used for the speed between Mach 1 and 5 while “subsonic” is for the speed below Mach 1(Smith, 2009, para.2)When a plane is flying at supersonic speed, it is flying faster than sound. The major difference in a supersonic aircraft is the design principal. The most important thing to consider when building a supersonic aircraft is airflow: “Managing that airflow is especially troublesome as a plane approaches the speed of sound… The faster the plane travels, the more difficult it is to push the craft through the air and the more fuel the plane's engines need to fly a given distance” (Dillow, 2014). The Concorde is an example of a supersonic aircraft with is thin body and delta-shaped wings. Figure 1: Concept of the Concorde and the TU-144. (TU-144, n.d) Before going deep into the problem, it is important to have an overview at the history of supersonic flight. Supersonic transport or SST came into development soon after World War II. During the 50s’, there were four nations competing in this new industry: France, Britain, American, and the Soviet Union. However, there were only 3 sides in this competition as Britain and France agreed on a joint development program (Drake & Purvis, 2001, p.3). The France and Britain collaboration resulted in the legendary Concorde, the name that everyone always mention when talking about supersonic transport. In the far-east, the Soviet Union worked on a similar design to the Concorde, called TU-144. In 1968, the TU-144 had its first flight on 31 December, one year earlier than the Concorde. Meanwhile in the United Stat... ... middle of paper ... ...92.stm P., L. L. (2011). Ailment sonic boom cure: extreme makeover of the airplane. Discover, 32(8), 40. Smith, H. (2009, May 19). What is supersonic flight?. NASA. Retrieved April 19, 2014, from http://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/5-8/features/what-is-supersonic-flight-58.html#.U1M0IFcnGSo Supersonic dream. (2007). PBS. Retrieved April 19, 2014, from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/education/activities/3203_concorde.html Superssonic flight ban announced. (1973, March 27). Spokane Daily Chronicle, p. 2. The Concorde 10 years after the future ended: a visual history. (2013, October 24). Skift. Retrieved April 19, 2014, from http://skift.com/2013/10/24/the-concorde-10-years-after-the-future-ended/ Tu-144 Charger and Concorde. (n.d.). globalsecurity.org. Retrieved April 19, 2014, from http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/russia/images/tu-144-concord-line1.gif

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