Lockheed Martin has been commissioned to design and manufacture the Quiet Supersonic Transport (QSST), a 12-seat private jet that will be able to quietly break the sound barrier. Capable of flying at Mach 1.6—which for the rest of us means 1200mph—that unique ability to sneak through the sound barrier without breaking every window in sight would let it zip from New York to LA in two hours and 15 minutes.
The supersonic jet's sonic boom will reportedly be 20dB quieter than the Concorde's, an aerodynamic trick made possible by a canceling-out effect when the plane's broad nose compresses the shockwave while the rest of the plane's fuselage expands it. Let's hope aviation authorities buy into this idea and let the thing soar coast to coast, pedal to the metal. The groundbreaking design is due to fly by 2013.