Its motto boasted “Arrive Before You Leave,” and, in a sense, the Concorde delivered. In September 1973, the supersonic jet made its first transatlantic voyage in 3 hours and 32 minutes, a record-setting clip that meant westbound flights would arrive in the United States well before their departure from Europe, in terms of local time. But within three decades, the Concorde—and civilian supersonic travel—had disappeared, defeated not least by the ear-splitting noise that got it banned from overland routes. Tim MacDonald, MA ’15, PhD ’20, and Norris Tie, MBA ’19, hope to overcome that challenge. The founders of Exosonic have plans for the world’s first “low boom” supersonic passenger jet—capable of breaking the sound barrier with more of a whimper than a bang. They face a range of economic, environmental, and regulatory hurdles but say subsonic limits can’t last forever. “Aviation has gone backwards, and that’s not supposed to happen,” Tie, Exosonic’s CEO, told Stanford in 2021.
Sam Scott is a senior writer at Stanford. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vintage 1973 Collection
Stanford is 50! It turns out we’re not the only one. Walk with us down memory lane as we sample some of the wonders and horrors of the 1973–74 academic year on the Farm, and in the world around.