Reading Practice – Fly Anywhere In The World In Four Hours

Part 1 – Key Vocabulary

To be grounded: Grounded means to be prohibited from flying, and we can use this to talk about an aircraft or an airline crew, such as a pilot or cabin attendant.

  • In 2019, the Boeing 737 Max was grounded for safety reasons
  • When the airline discovered the pilot was drinking alcohol before the flight, they grounded the pilot and cancelled the flight.

Start-up: A start-up is a newly established business.

  • Apple began as a start-up in Steve Job’s parent’s garage.
  • It’s hard to believe that Amazon began as a start-up in Jeff Bezos’ home in 1994.

Supersonic / hypersonic: Sonic comes from the Latin word sonos and means sound. Supersonic means to travel at the speed of sound, which is about 1,235 kilometers per hour. This speed is known as Mach 1 [ mäk ]. Hypersonic means to travel faster than the speed of sound.

  • The most famous supersonic jet was the Concorde.
  • NASA’s X-43 was a hypersonic planes that flew at Mach 9.6 in 2004.

Roll out: This phrasal verb means to launch or debut a new product.

  • Most automobile companies roll out new cars every year.
  • I can’t wait for McDonalds to roll out the McRib sandwich again!

Transoceanic: Trans is a prefix that means “across” and so transoceanic means across the ocean.

  • In 1927, Charles Lindbergh completed the first solo, nonstop transoceanic flight in history.
  • These days, transoceanic flights are a daily occurrence.

Practice the Vocabulary

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    Part 2 – Read the Story

    Fly Anywhere In The World In Four Hours

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    The British-French airliner Concorde, which flew from 1969 to 2003 was the world’s only supersonic jet which operated commercially. It could fly from NYC to London in less than three hours. However, a combination of its low profitability and a downturn in air travel in the early 2000’s left the family of jets grounded. But now, several start-ups are working on supersonic and hypersonic planes. Last October, one of these firms, Boom Supersonic rolled out Overture. That’s a plane that can travel at Mach 2.2 or 2,716 kilometers per hour, which is more than twice as fast as today’s commercial jets. The goal is to start taking passengers by 2026.

    There hasn’t been any major speed-up in travel times since the Jet Age of the ’50s and ’60s and Boom Supersonic hopes to change that. Designed to seat between 65 and 88 people, Overture will focus on over 500 transoceanic routes that will benefit from the aircraft’s speed.

    A journey from New York to London would take around three hours while the trip from Los Angeles to Sydney would be cut down to eight and a half hours. According to Boom’s CEO, breaking the time barrier could be life-changing. The eventual goal for Boom is to offer a four-hour, $100 flight. Of course, the starting price will probably be closer to a business class flight, but Boom dreams big.

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