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From LA to NY in just over 2 hours? Very soon, you and 11 of your closest friends or business partners will be able to do just that. The QSST by Supersonic Aerospace International is a supersonic business jet that is expected to revolutionize the aviation industry upon its arrival. The 12-seat luxury aircraft, which is formally known as the Quiet Supersonic Transport, will be the only jet that is capable of flying at supersonic speed over populated continental areas. Imagine all airplanes flying nearly twice the distance in the same amount time, and the significance of the QSST taking flight is a palpable event of positive impact. It is a major step toward quiet supersonic flights becoming commonplace worldwide.
Supersonic Aerospace International commissioned Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works design team to build the QSST, because it is among the most experienced in aircraft design and production. The team responsible for the aerodynamic advancements that could lead to all aircraft flying at supersonic speed is also the developer other precedent-setting aircraft. Skunk Works is the builder of one of the first business jets, Jetstar, the SR-71, the F-117 Stealth Fighter, and the F/A-22 Raptor.
The QSST will travel between Mach 1.6 and Mach 1.8. Mach 1 is 768 mph; so the maximum cruising speed of the business jet will be as fast as 1,188 mph. While it is not quite as fast as the Concorde, its sonic boom is 99 percent quieter or 1/100 of the boom generated by the Concorde. Due to its limited usage and cost-ineffectiveness, the Concorde was officially retired from service in November 2003.
According to SAI, the sound heard from ground level made by the QSST flying overhead is equivalent to that of a car passing by. The sound reduction occurs due to increasing the ration of length to wingspan. The boom itself is longer but substantially less audible. Skunk Works spent six years and more $40 million in bringing its patented sonic-boom-suppression technology to fruition. In 2010 the engine of the QSST will be selected from one of three bidding manufacturers. The engine will be produced either by General Electric, Pratt & Whitney, or Rolls-Royce.
The supersonic-aircraft project with Skunk Works began in 2001.The QSST will be flight ready in 2014 and available for customers by 2016. Along with being in compliance with current and anticipated sound and environmental regulations, the size of the QSST will enable it to be use most major airports worldwide. The price of a Quiet Supersonic Transport business jet will be around $80 million. For more information, visit SAIQSST.com.
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