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A Brief History of Supersonic Aviation, and What the Future Holds

Commercial aviation technology has pretty much stagnated for the last 50 years. For example, the Boeing 737 is one of the most popular commercial airliners in service today. That plane, in basically current form, took its maiden flight 55 years ago in 1968 (or was it 69?). In 1968, Neil Armstrong hadn’t walked on the moon yet & Russia was still winning the space race. Woodstock wouldn’t happen for another year. America was still fighting in Vietnam. 1968 is the same year that MLK Jr. and JFK were both assassinated.  That era seems like a lifetime ago, and it is incredible that the first 50 years of aviation saw astronomical growth from the wright brothers’ first powered & manned flight (in a glorified paper airplane with a lawnmower engine bolted to a ceiling fan) in 1903 all the way to the first supersonic flight by legend Chuck Yeager in 1947. In the last 50 years, however,  improvements have been stifled.  Between 1970 and today today, we haven’t seen any breakthrough aerospace technologies for commercial aviation, or really even for military aviation technology. We’ve mostly just seen upgraded electronics, composite and materials engineering upgrades, improved-but-not-really-new propulsion technologies, and stricter safety modifications. But very little has changed about an airplane’s flight path, overall shape, and they still pretty much look the same as they did in 1970.

This is all about to change.

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