Supersonic Aircraft Developer Spike Plans Test Flight for This Summer
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One of the companies developing a supersonic passenger jet hopes to begin flying a full-speed aircraft next year. Spike Aerospace announced the goal of flying a smaller, subsonic prototype plane by the summer of 2017.
The prototype flight would allow Spike to demonstrate the feasibility of its proposed supersonic passenger aircraft, the Spike S-512. The plane’s designed to carry 18 passengers, with proprietary technology onboard to minimize the noise from breaking the speed of sound. If the technology is successful, the aircraft could feasibly travel in places currently unwelcome to supersonic aircraft.
If the subsonic prototype is successful in flight, the aircraft manufacturer plans to continue testing, leading to a supersonic test flight with a larger jet by the end of 2018. Assuming all targets are met, the aircraft could be available on the marketplace for passenger flights in as little as six years. Meanwhile, sales staff has begun shopping the aircraft around to commercial customers, targeting operators in the United States, Canada, Europe and the Middle East.
The planned testing could lead to the first passenger flights at the speed of sound in over a decade. The final flight of the Concorde took place in 2003, and although a group wanted to get that jet back in the skies, the project has not caught forward momentum. Getting off the ground across the country would also require a lift of the Federal Aviation Administration’s current ban on supersonic flight over land, which has been discussed by members of Congress.
Spike is not the only company to attempt the return to supersonic flight. Denver-based Boom Technology is also working on a supersonic passenger jet, with the goal of getting up and flying by 2023.
Featured image: Artistic rendering of aircraft courtesy of Spike Aerospace.
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