Here's Why Engines Are Making Planes Slower Now Than 50 Years Ago

Hey, why the hell don’t planes go that fast? I mean, they go faster than a car, I GUESS, but they don’t go faster than they did 20, 30, even 40 years ago. They actually fly slower than they once did. Here’s why.

If you watch the video, and you should because it is good, it explains that a lot of that has to do with the ever-hungering thirst for fuel efficiency in the airline industry. Those guys know that if you won’t pay a dime less for less legroom, you won’t stop flying because your flight takes an extra half hour.

So that means that in the past few decades, manufacturers have moved away from certain types of engines, like turbojets, and moved to others, like turbofans. And accordingly, the “fan” part of the turbofan has gotten bigger as manufacturers compete on fuel economy.


Because of all that, we likely won’t see another Concorde, with it’s sound barrier-shattering speed, for a long time. And even speedy subsonic jets, like the Convair 880, are just ghosts of the past.


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Michael Ballaban

Deputy Editor, Jalopnik. 2002 Lexus IS300 Sportcross.

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