Lockheed has begun construction of parts for a jet which could bring back the era of supersonic travel – travelling faster than the speed of sound with no sonic boom.
The planned jet, X-59, could fly from London to New York in just three hours – and will take off in 2021.
The company announced on Friday that it had begun manufacturing the first part for a demonstrator aircraft scheduled to begin flights in three years time.
The low-boom flight demonstrator for X-59 will be used to gather data on people’s response to the quiet ‘boom’ – described as ‘quieter than a car door closing’.
NASA hopes that this will allow it to establish an ‘acceptable’ noise level – and overturn regulations banning supersonic travel over land.
NASA has already conducted initial tests over the Texas Gulf Coast – with two FA-18 jets climbed to 55,000 feet and diving to replicate the ‘sonic thump’.
Jerry Barker, 46, said, ‘ ‘I just heard one, right at eleven o’clock. Very small, two tiny bumps.’