SUPERSONIC ERA CLOSES

When the Concorde lands for the final time at London's Heathrow Airport on Oct. 24, it'll be the last chance in a generation for commercial air passengers to pierce the sound barrier, aviation analysts say.The Concordes are marvels of engineering and design, radically different from the cookie-cutter jets that crowd the skies. Legions of fans list their Concorde flights among the high points of their lives.But the economics of operating an aging, fuel-chomping, deafeningly loud fleet of supersonic jets have become too cumbersome for British Airways and Air France. And the financial barriers to creating new, ultra-fast planes are too high for any other commercial carrier to start flying at Mach speed any time in the near future.While research into new, supersonic technology continues across the globe, most of these efforts are geared toward the military. Many won't be ready for decades to come.Check out my Wired News article for the rest of the story.THERE'S MORE: Aviation Week looks at the Pentagon's plans for a breed of missiles that can go Mach 4, or faster.

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