A supersonic transport (SST) is a civilian supersonic aircraft designed to transport passengers at speeds greater than the speed of sound. To date, the only SSTs to see regular service have been Concorde and the Tupolev Tu-144. The last passenger flight for the Tu-144 was in June 1978 and it was last flown in 1999 by NASA. Concorde's last commercial flight was in October 2003, with a November 26, 2003 ferry flight being its last airborne operation. Following the permanent cessation of flying by Concorde, there are no remaining SSTs in commercial service.
Supersonic airliners have been the objects of numerous recent and ongoing design studies. Drawbacks and design challenges are excessive noise generation (at takeoff and due to sonic booms during flight), high development costs, expensive construction materials, great weight, and an increased cost per seat over subsonic airliners. Despite these challenges, Concorde was operated profitably in a niche market for over 27 years.
Famous quotes containing the word transports:
“Compare ... the cinema with theatre. Both are dramatic arts. Theatre brings actors before a public and every night during the season they re-enact the same drama. Deep in the nature of theatre is a sense of ritual. The cinema, by contrast, transports its audience individually, singly, out of the theatre towards the unknown.”
—John Berger (b. 1926)