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Gulfstream X-54 Supersonic Jet Unveiled
Visitors to England’s Farnborough International Airshow were among some of the first to see the Gulfstream X-54 prototype. The Gulfstream G650, which could travel as speeds up to 646mph was previously known as the fastest jet on earth. The X-54 will trump this by nearly four times, clocking speeds up to an amazing 2,485mph. This would reduce flying time significantly, and will certainly have a great impact on business travel. A twenty-three hour flight could be completed in as little as five hours.
The Gulfstream X-54 is a collaborative effort that includes top aviation names such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and NASA. The need for a replacement for the Concorde, which has been out of operation since 2003 due to safety concerns, is great. Space on the new supersonic jet will be highly marketed to business travelers who spend massive amounts of time flying from country to country. Of course those who desire a luxury vacation without the standard extensive travel time will also be interested in reducing travel time.
Greater speeds are the result of the use of lighter materials, highly advanced engines, and smaller fuselage size. With these in place the next problem that needed to be addressed was that of the sonic boom. This is the sound that is created when an aircraft exceeds the speed of sound. Gulstream X-54 engineers are not quick to tell their secrets, but claim that the sound produced with the supersonic jet breaks the speed of sound will be “closer to a puff or plop.”
The cost to build the new supersonic jet is estimated to be in the $80 million dollar range. Recouping this cost may take time, as each jet will only hold 12 passengers per flight. Potential ticket prices have not been announced as the actual release is years away. One would expect, however, that business travelers would certainly be able to pay a premium for the ability to travel around the world and then home again all in the same day.
Despite the recent unveiling, do not expect to be able to board the X-54 anytime soon. Limited testing runs will not commence until the year 2020. Assuming that all the testing goes well and the aircraft is indeed considered to be safe, the first commercial flights would start around the year 2030. Alas, such advanced technological developments do take time, and extensive testing is an absolute must in order to ensure the safety of all who board to jet.
Date: August 1, 2012 at 5:15 pm- by Leslie Miller- Posted in Aviation and tagged gulfstream, gulfstream X-54, son of concorde, supersonic jet, X-54- Comment(s): 0