When we think of supersonic passenger air travel, most people will think of Concorde, the joint British & French design which operated from 1976 until 2003 and up until this day, has been the only long term supersonic passenger jet service to operate.
What many people don’t know is that in the 60’s a 70’s there were three other competing designs from the United States and Russia.
The Russian Tupolev Tu-144 was the first commercial supersonic transport aircraft (SST) which had its first flight 2 months before Concorde on 31st December 1969.
Two designs, one from Boeing and the other from Lockheed were selected for further development and as an incentive the US government would pay for 75% of the programs cost.
The Lockheed L-2000 design was almost a scaled up Concorde and intended to fly at up Mach 3.0 or 2300 mph while carrying 270 passengers for a range of 4,000 miles.
Boeing’s 2707 design was supposed to be able to fly at Mach 2.7 or 2000mph and carry more than 270 passengers for more than 4,200 miles.After much testing the Boeing 2707 design was chosen as the winner on 1st January 1967.
Progress though, was far from smooth, one of the main features that the 2707 was meant to have was the ability to fly hundreds of miles an hour faster than Concorde but this created huge implications plane.