The incredible planes that will bring about a new era in supersonic travel (with one reaching a top speed of 12,000mph)
- Boom jet claims to offer ‘affordable’ supersonic travel with 3.5 hour journey from London to New York priced $5000
- Concorde 2 described as ‘highest rollercoaster in the world’ due to steep ascent, descent and high speed of flight
- Antipode could travel 12,430 miles in under an hour, allowing a journey from London to New York in just 11 minutes
Richard Branson announced Virgin is set to order 10 supersonic Boom jets, which the manufacturer claims will herald a new era of ‘affordable’ supersonic travel.
While Boom jet will fly at 1,451mph – about 100mph faster than Concorde – and reach New York from London in just three three and a half hours, it’s not the only trailblazing aircraft of the future.
From flight paths that reach the Earth’s upper most atmosphere to aircraft with rocket boosters, MailOnline Travel rounds up the concept planes set to transform journey times and kick start supersonic travel.
The 40-seater aircraft, Boom is being built by former Amazon executive Blake Scholl to fly from London to New York in three and a half hours with a ticket costing $5,000. Scholl said about 500 routes fit the craft’s market, including a five-hour trip from San Francisco to Tokyo and a six-hour flight from Los Angeles to Sydney.
According to the simulations, Boom’s design is quieter and 30 percent more efficient than the Concorde.
It will be split into two single-seat rows, so everybody has a window and an aisle.To reduce weight, the seats are of the standard domestic first-class variety, so no lay-down beds.
To cut flight time, Boom’s plane will cruise at 60,000 feet, where passengers will be able to see the curvature of the earth, while going 2.6 times faster than other passenger planes.
More than a decade after the last flight of the Concorde, Nasa has invested $2.3million (£1.5million) in eight research projects aimed at reviving the dream of supersonic planes.
The projects will look at how to reduce the noise of sonic booms in order to reintroduce the flights, how to improve fuel efficiency and how to limit the impact on the ozone, among other things.
Three decades of supersonic travel ended in 2003, when the final Concorde flight landed at London Heathrow Airport on a transatlantic trip from New York. Air France and British Airways decided to retire the aircraft because it was no longer profitable.
When it comes to the future of travel, passengers are eager to see flight times drastically reduced.
A concept aircraft called Skreemr aims to do just that by exceeding Mach 10 (10 times the speed of sound) with a flight from London to New York taking about half an hour.
Designers Charles Bombardier and Ray Mattison have dreamed up a launch system that would see the hypersonic plane, powered by liquid-oxygen or kerosene rockets, catapulted into the sky, where it would ultimately reach speeds of nearly 7,700mph.
WHAT IS HYPERSONIC TRAVEL AND WHAT CAUSES THE SONIC BOOM?
A supersonic plane is one that flies faster than the speed of sound, at Mach 1 or greater, using a jet engine.
Mach 2.5 is about the speed limit for gas-turbine engines.
Any faster and the temperature and pressure of air entering the engine is too high for the turbo machinery inside.
To fly at hypersonic speed – Mach 5 and above – requires a different type of engine such as a supersonic-combustion ramjet, or scramjet.
These engines have no moving parts. Instead of the rotating compressor and turbine in a jet engine, air is compressed and expanded by complex systems of shockwaves under the front of the aircraft, inside the inlet and under the fuselage at the rear.
Travel becomes hypersonic when temperatures get so hot that air molecules become unstable and begin losing electrons. At these speeds the air becomes an electrically-charged field.
At supersonic speeds, air moves through a series of channels until is slowed down to a point where fuel can be more easily injected and ignited. This releases energy and thrust.
At hypersonic speed, this air moves even faster, which makes it difficult to slow down to the speed of sound and therefore requires specialist fuel and technologies, as seen in engines including the pulse detonation engine (PDE).
Air reacts like a fluid to supersonic objects. As objects travel through the air, molecules are pushed aside with great force and this forms a shock wave much like a boat creates a bow wave. The width of the so-called boom ‘carpet’ beneath the aircraft is around one mile (1.6km) for each 1,000ft (304 metres) of altitude
A PDE can make between 60 and 100 detonations a second.
The sonic boom is created when an aircraft or other type of vehicle flies overhead faster than the speed of sound.
Air reacts like a fluid to supersonic objects. As objects travel through the air, the air molecules are pushed aside with great force and this forms a shock wave much like a boat creates a bow wave. The bigger and heavier the aircraft, the more air it displaces.
A design from Reaction Engines, based in Oxfordshire, could see passenger jets, called Lapcats, reach speeds of Mach 5
British aerospace firm BAE Systems announced this year it has invested in a company that is working on an engine that would slash the flight time between London and Sydney to just four hours.
The design from Reaction Engines, based in Oxfordshire, could see passenger jets, called Lapcats, reach speeds of Mach 5 – two and a half times that of the Concorde.
Designs for passenger aircraft are still at least 20 years away.
An aircraft dubbed ‘Concorde 2’ may resemble a spacecraft with an A-wing according to illustrations based on a patent awarded to Airbus, which describes a craft that climbs vertically in the air before breaking the sound barrier as it travels horizontally
This aircraft envisioned by Airbus has been called the Concorde 2 as it has a top speed of Mach 4.5.
That would allow it to fly from London to New York in an hour. And Airbus claims the jet would be able to complete trips such as Tokyo to Los Angeles in just three hours.
The aircraft would climb vertically and break the sound barrier as it soars horizontally.
These details have been taken into account in the computer-generated illustrations shown on Patent Yogi’s YouTube channel, the proposed craft is described as ‘the highest rollercoaster in the world’ because of the steep ascent and descent – and high speed – of its flight path.
The patent describes how three different types of engine, powered by different forms of hydrogen, would work together to propel the vehicle at speeds of 3,425mph (5,500km/h).
Two turbo jets would allow the aircraft to climb vertically at take-off, before retracting into the fuselage just before it reaches the speed of sound.
A rocket motor would take it to an altitude of 100,000 feet (30,000 metres). The wing-mounted ramjets would then take control to push the jet to its final speed.
Airbus says it has designed the craft’s aerodynamics to limit sonic boom, making it much quieter than Concorde, which some complained was too noisy when it flew over populated areas.
However, unlike with Concorde, the Airbus design will limit passengers to just 20. And it won’t be cheap.
A concept aircraft called Skreemr would exceed Mach 10 with a flight from London to New York taking as little as half an hour
The engineer behind the Skreemr jet has unveiled another radical, much faster design for future air travel. Charles Bombadier latest concept jet is capable of reaching Mach 24 – more than twice the speed of the Skreemr and 12 times faster than Concorde
Dubbed the ‘Antipode’, it can carry 10 people up to 12,430 miles (20,000km) in under an hour, allowing it to travel from London to New York in just 11 minutes
Charles Bombardier’s latest concept jet is capable of reaching Mach 24 – more than twice the speed of the Skreemr and 12 times faster than Concorde.
Dubbed the ‘Antipode’, it can carry 10 people up to 12,430 miles (20,000km) in under an hour, allowing it to travel from London to New York in just 11 minutes.
THE ANTIPODE: FLIGHT DURATIONS
New York to London (3,459 miles) – 11 minutes
New York to Paris (3,625 miles) – 12 minutes
New York to Tokyo (6,737 miles) – 22 minutes
New York to Dubai (6,836 miles) – 22 minutes
New York to Shanghai (7,364 miles) – 24 minutes
New York to Hong Kong (8,040 miles) – 26 minutes
New York to Sydney (9,929 miles) – 32 minutes
The Canadian engineer behind the Skreemr concept plane was contacted by engineer Joseph Hazeltine, who proposed using a novel aerodynamic phenomenon called ‘long penetration mode (LPM) to draft an entirely new hypersonic concept—’the Antipode.’
The Antipod would be able to take off directly from any airfield by using reusable rocket boosters.
These rockets would attach to the wings of the Antipod and provide enough thrust to lift off, climb to 40,000 feet, and reach Mach 5.
The acceleration boosters would then separate from the Antipod and fly back to the airbase like Blue Origin’s boosters.
At Mach 5, the aircraft’s onboard computer would ignite its supersonic combustion ramjet engine and accelerate up to Mach 24 at 40,000 feet.
The Antipod would channel some of the air, flowing at supersonic speed, through a nozzle located on the nose of the aircraft.
This counterflowing jet of air would induce a phenomenon called ‘LPM’ or long penetration mode
Using LPM would lead to a drop in surface temperature due to aeroheating and a reduction of the shockwave and noise related to breaking the sound barrier.
The leading edge of the wings of the aircraft could also be fitted with linear nozzles so that air could flow out of them too. In this way, all leading edge surfaces could also be cooled by LPM.
The plane’s wings would have enough lift to glide and land on a 6,000 foot runway.
‘The Antipod could be used as business or military aircraft to transport two highly ranked officials across the globe (up to 20,000 km) in less than an hour,’ Bombardier told DailyMail.com.
‘I think the cost will be at least over $150 million per plane and it could become a reality if there is a demand. But first, further research needs to be conducted.’
The two-stage, fully reusable system – consists of a passenger orbiter and a booster stage with an environmentally friendly rocket propulsion system fuelled by liquid hydrogen and oxygen
A hypersonic SpaceLiner capable of reaching 20 times the speed of sound and transporting passengers from London to Sydney in 90 minutes could be with us by 2030.
German aerospace bosses first proposed the plan in 2007 before shelving it – but now say it could happen within decades if they can raise $33 billion.
It would mean a journey between Europe and the U.S. would be reduced to just over 60 minutes – at a price.
The two-stage, fully reusable system – consists of a passenger orbiter and a booster stage with an environmentally friendly rocket propulsion system fuelled by liquid hydrogen and oxygen.
The engines will accelerate the SpaceLiner to more than 20 times the speed of sound in less than 10 minutes.
Then, upon booster separation and from an altitude of about 80 kilometers, the passenger stage will glide down in a state of unpowered flight to land at its designated destination.
The SpaceLiner would take approximately eight minutes to climb to an altitude of some 50 miles where it reach the earth’s upper atmosphere before gliding back to Earth at hypersonic speeds of more than 15,000mph.
It is expected tickets would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Hypersonic passenger planes could be a reality by 2030: Rocket-propelled SpaceLiner could carry 100 passengers and travel between Europe and Australia in under 90 minutes (at a price) Project was shelved in 2007 – but is now being resurrected
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