Elon Musk proposes changes

Elon Musk proposes changes

CEO of Electric Vehicle giant Tesla Inc TSLA and rocket manufacturing company SpaceX Elon Musk on Monday recommended changes to the supersonic Concorde airliner to increase its efficiency.

What Happened: “Just updating the engines would cut fuel use in half,” Musk wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “Also, max altitude should be raised to ~80k ft. Would solve both efficiency and heating problems,” he added

The CEO was responding to a post on the airliner jointly run by British Airways and Air France but presently out of operation despite traveling faster than sound. The post said that though the plane was a ‘technical marvel,’ it had ‘poor business economics.’ After flying for over 25 years, Concorde retired in 2003.

The Concorde planes had high fuel consumption despite their peak performance and therefore were expensive. According to the National Air and Space Museum which has a Concorde on display, “Carrying up to 100 passengers in great comfort, the Concorde catered to first class passengers for whom speed was critical.”

“It could cross the Atlantic in fewer than four hours – half the time of a conventional jet airliner. However its high operating costs resulted in very high fares that limited the number of passengers who could afford to fly it,” the museum added.

The Air France crash involving a Concorde in 2000 did not help the aircraft’s prospects. The flight which was headed to New York from Paris crashed and killed 109 people on board and four on the ground, taking the total death toll to a staggering 113.

Why It Matters: In the U.S., civilian supersonic flights are banned from flying over land owing to their sonic booms. The ban is over 50 years old and was officially put into effect in 1973.

Besides the Concorde, the Soviet-manufactured Tupolev Tu-144 is the sole supersonic aircraft to enter commercial use as an airliner. Other supersonic aircraft are employed mainly for military purposes.

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