Aircraft

Spike Aerospace aims to quiet sonic booms

Spike Aerospace aims to quiet ...
Spike aims for supersonic flights between Europe and Asia in the early 2020s
Spike aims for supersonic flights between Europe and Asia in the early 2020s
View 4 Images
Spike aims for supersonic flights between Europe and Asia in the early 2020s
1/4
Spike aims for supersonic flights between Europe and Asia in the early 2020s
A concept of the S-512 over New York City
2/4
A concept of the S-512 over New York City
The Spike Aerospace S-512
3/4
The Spike Aerospace S-512
A rendering of the S-512 passenger cabin
4/4
A rendering of the S-512 passenger cabin

Supersonic air travel is experiencing a rebirth of sorts lately, at least in terms of new concept designs for passenger planes from the likes of Airbus, Denver-based Boom and Boston's Spike Aerospace. Spike, in particular, aims to make it possible to travel faster than sound over new parts of the world by greatly reducing the disturbing sonic booms that result from breaking that threshold.

The company says that its planned S-512 18-passenger jet (which we've covered in detail previously) will employ proprietary technology that basically optimizes the craft's aerodynamic design "primarily through shaping of the wing, fuselage and tail [...] to minimize any disturbing sound created by the sonic wake."

Historically, supersonic passenger flights like those offered via Concorde until the fleets were grounded in 2003 have only been available for trans-oceanic routes where sonic booms would not disturb large population centers. Spike sees its Quiet Supersonic Flight (QSF) technology opening up routes over Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

"Sure, there is a market for high-boom supersonic jets that only fly over water. But there is a much bigger demand for low-boom jets that can fly supersonic everywhere," said Spike President and CEO Vik Kachoria.

The company is in discussions with airlines to offer supersonic flights aboard Spike jets alongside regular flight offerings starting in the early 2020s. Spike says it sees the S-512 making flights from Paris to Dubai in 3.5 hours or London to Hong Kong in 5.5 hours. It also anticipates that ticket prices would be only slightly higher than fares for business or first class seats on subsonic planes.

A rendering of the S-512 passenger cabin
A rendering of the S-512 passenger cabin

It's important to point out this is a very specific vision from a company that will not even begin to construct its first scaled prototype until this summer, so some healthy skepticism is warranted until the concept is proven.

Spike is not the only outfit looking into sonic boom-reducing technology, either. Airbus has a patent for a rather odd design of a quieter supersonic passenger jet that probably will never be built, and NASA is working with Lockheed to design a prototype "low-boom" supersonic passenger jet.

Time will tell if any of these designs ever help supersonic travel get off the ground again.

Source: Spike Aerospace

7 comments
VincentWolf
You know what would really really be cool if they continue the trend towards electronic OLED windows instead of real glass windows that they would be touch screens so that those with a window seat could touch an area on the screen and zoom in. If your doing some sight seeing that would be a phenomenal selling point!
Derek Howe
VincentWolf - So while traveling at over mach 2, you want to be able to view a specific spot on earth 50,000 ft below you, via a touchscreen OLED with your own dedicated camera embedded under the fuselage...sure, why not, that wont add to the ticket price at all. s/
HensleyBeuronGarlington
He never spoke about the price of the tickets, simply how cool such a technological feature would be to the already first class experience of flying in one of the fastest passenger planes ever built. And yes, modern camera technology could achieve crystal clear imaging from 50,000 ft up while traveling mach 2. Consider that the SR71 Blackbird had cameras that could capture a golf ball sitting on the green from 80,000 ft. It will already have multiple cameras in place to provide the surreal wrap around view ports through OLEDs SO why couldn't you imagine that those same cameras won't have a zoom feature?
dugnology
stand in line. When you have the $2 billion lined up, call me.
Mark Salamon
Even if these supersonic jets do become a transportation reality, I am skeptical that the vast majority of humanity (including me) will be able to afford the ticket price to any of their flight destinations.
Stephen N Russell
Test plane at Edwards AFB FTC CA for R&D & PR, awesome idea. Mass produce & carry 30 passengers for short hops, then expand to 100 for TransPac runs
Augure
I've been following them for some times. At first the first flight was deemed for 2018, of course like the first Virgin Galactic flights, turns out it was false and is now set for 2020...for business class jets of which the tickets is between a 1000 to 3000$ a ticket... I'm disappointed, I though domestic supersonic jets for everyone would start appearing around 2020, not private jets for a hundred people.