Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

This hypersonic jet could fly from London to New York in an hour

airbus-patent-2.jpg

"What's that sound?"

"That? Oh, it's just the turbojets warming up - nothing to worry about."

"Oh right... and that whistling noise? Is that okay?"

"Sure - those are the ramjets kicking in."

"A ram-what? And what was that boom?!"

"That was the rocket motor. Remind me never to sit with you on hypersonic jet."

This is the sort of mild panic we imagine will engulf nervous flyers the world over should Airbus make good on a design they've just patented

Titled ULTRA-RAPID AIR VEHICLE AND RELATED METHOD FOR AERIAL LOCOMOTION, the patent outlines a plane that would use "a system of motors formed by turbojets, ramjets and a rocket motor" to power a large aircraft to speeds of Mach 4.5 - over 3,000 miles per hour. Concorde only did Mach 2.

Airbus

Following in the footsteps (wing spans?) of supersonic jets such as Concorde and Tupolev Tu-144, the Airbus design claims to have increased speed and performance, whilst also reducing the "bang" produced when breaking the sound barrier - which would help remove one of the antisocial issues that has plagued previous jets. Its average cruising speed could see a journey between London and New York take one hour.

The patent relates to the specific shape of the plane, including a "gothic delta wing", and a system of motors - powered in part by hydrogen "which is liquid or in a state of melted snow (slush)". 

The plane would also cruise at an altitude 20km higher than most standard aircraft, nudging it toward the edge of Earth's atmosphere and avoiding air corridors that other planes navigate. 

While it may be many years before a commercial airline uses such a jet, the patent does detail some military uses for the design, including "strategic reconnaissance, ultra-rapid transports of high added-value goods, and also equipped with elite commandos... As with satellites, the air vehicle of the invention offers almost total invulnerability to conventional antiaircraft systems". Should a rich, paranoid nation fancy funding Airbus' design, it could arrive a lot sooner.

Until then, we're just going to have to stick the conventional eight hour flight time between London and New York. 

At least it means you can get a few films in, no?

Airbus

Related

hoverboard2.jpg

The Real-Life Hoverboard That You've Been Dreaming Of Is Finally Here

traffic3.jpg

This web game shows why self-driving cars are the future

humour8.jpg

If technology alerts were honest

sony.jpg

The Best Earphones Under £30

battery1.jpg

Hackers could spy on your phone via your battery

cable2.jpg

How To Stop Your iPhone Charger From Breaking So Easily

Comments

More

Everything we know about the new Nokia 3310

The brick is back

by Matt Tate
24 Feb 2017

The not-at-all creepy future of Tinder, according to its boss

Dating meets Pokemon Go

by Matt Tate
24 Feb 2017

Instagram's latest update lets you group up to 10 photos in a post

This actually looks like a great new feature

by Matt Tate
22 Feb 2017

This might be the greatest Rocket League goal ever scored

They think it's all Rover

by Gary Ogden
20 Feb 2017

Crash Bandicoot: the greatest game I ever played

As its PS4 return is announced, one writer salutes one of the best platformers of them all

by Ryan Young
17 Feb 2017

TFL has been tracking you on the tube and the data is fascinating

Catnip for the tube heads

by Dave Fawbert
15 Feb 2017

20 Things You'll Only Understand If You Owned A Nokia 3310

14 Feb 2017

The Nokia 3310 is getting a relaunch (yes, really)

The return of the King

by Gary Ogden
14 Feb 2017

The new iPhone looks like it's going to have wireless charging

A huge move from Apple

by Dave Fawbert
13 Feb 2017

Things no one wants to hear on social media

We need to establish some house rules

by David Cornish
10 Feb 2017