Imagine being able to reach any location on earth within four hours. An early breakfast in Paris before some market shopping and lunch in Shanghai, and an early dinner in Mexico City perhaps? Well, American aerospace giant Boeing thinks that you should be able to do just that and so have unveiled a ground-breaking, new concept for a hypersonic plane with the potential to reach any location around the globe within the aforementioned four hours.
The highly talked-about concept plane is designed to allow it to travel along its own shockwave to achieve speeds of up to 5800km/h, two and a half times the speed of the Concorde. In Layman’s terms, you could basically jet off to LA from Auckland International Airport and it would only take two hours!
Kevin Bowcott, Chief Scientist for Hypersonics at Boeing, revealed that the aircraft would be made of titanium, capable of withstanding the pressure and temperatures reached when travelling at five times the speed of sound. The plane would cruise at around 95,000 feet above sea level, meaning passengers will see the curvature of the Earth below them and the black abyss of space above as they travel.
Passengers don’t need to worry about the forces they will experience at such a speed, as it will feel no different to flying in a current commercial plane. The G-force felt on take-off will last twelve minutes as opposed to the current one or two, but the extremely high-cruising altitude will also mean you will weigh a few pounds lighter during your flight.
While the plane is merely in the concept stage for now, Boeing expects the aircraft to become a reality in the next twenty to thirty years. Hypersonic technology is expected to have both commercial and military purposes, with multiple companies including SpaceX and NASA currently researching how best to apply the technology for defence purposes and ultra-fast every-day travel.