Flying at twice the speed of sound was the preserve of the super-rich. If supersonic flight roars back to the skies, could it be more affordable?

You could tell without looking up that Concorde was on its final approach to Heathrow: its Rolls Royce Olympus turbojets made the same roar on landing as others did taking off. It was a treat just to watch it in flight, and many of us assumed one day that supersonic flight would be the norm, not a novelty.

Concorde’s crash just outside Paris on 25 July, 2000 was actually just the symbolic end for the world’s only supersonic airliner. It may have been ahead of its time, but paradoxically it was already out of date and out of touch. Weighed down with political and economic baggage, Concorde was grounded in 2003,which seemed to signify the end of commercial supersonic travel (SST).

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