A passenger jet flying at hypersonic speeds could revolutionize air travel by cutting down a transatlantic flight from New York to London from seven hours to two.
Er, theoretically, that is.
Boeing is still trying to figure out how any of this will all actually happen, but the aircraft manufacturing company does have its eye on a launch date. If the company has its way, it’ll get these hypersonic jets in the air in about 20 to 30 years from now — which, coincidentally, is about as long as every layover in Chicago O’Hare feels.
Boeing’s fast-flying plane “debuted” at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics conference in Atlanta on Wednesday. It’s the latest development of a vision that the company’s CEO Dennis Muilenburg first shared with the world back in February.
“We do see an opportunity at some point of having an economically viable supersonic or hypersonic capability with the idea that you could travel anywhere in the world in one to two hours,” Muilenburg said in an interview.
For passenger use, Popular Mechanics overviewed how all of this could possibly work through the implementation of a cooling system, high-altitude flights, and specialized tail design. But Boeing could use the planes moving at 3,900 mph for commercial and military purposes as well.
But as anyone who’s been following NASA’s ambitions for supersonic plane travel can tell you, this concept is wildly expensive — we’re talking $247.5 million-contract expensive. And that’s just for a Mach 1.4 craft.
Though the Boeing concept craft will be on display at the upcoming Farnborough Air Show next month near London, the real-deal is still a long way from wheels up.