Boeing's hypersonic passenger jet could cross the Atlantic in 2 hours

The Boeing hypersonic concept plane

Camera Icon The Boeing hypersonic concept

On Tuesday, in a conference in Atlanta at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), Boeing disclosed and talked about its first concept design for a hypersonic passenger jet.

This is a theoretical "hypersonic" plane, capable of flying at Mach 5 or above (a speed of around 3,900 miles per hour) - a considerable upgrade on Concorde, which had a maximum capability of Mach 2.04 (nudging 1,354 miles per hour at its fullest throttle).

Hypersonic jet planes are an advance on supersonic planes such as the Concorde (see above), which used to hop from London to NY in less than three hours.

Boeing has released renders of its hypersonic jet and it features a delta-wing configuration with dual rear fins, a sleek fuselage with a sharp nose.

Such a plane would be capable of travelling at five times the speed of sound and would be smaller than the current planes that are used for long-haul flights, such as the Boeing 737. With top speeds exceeding 3,800 miles per hour, the trek from NY to London, for example, could take 120 minutes.

Shockingly, Boeing admits their newest design could travel even faster, but suggested there was no need to test the limits.

"This aircraft would allow you to fly across the ocean and back in one day, which is all most people would want".

Kevin Bowcutt, senior technical fellow and chief scientist of hypersonics at Boeing, said a hypersonic passenger vehicle could be airborne in 20 to 30 years and eventually enter use as a jet for global travel. "The world's just not big enough to go much faster than Mach 5". "For the business traveler or the military, where time is really important, that's an interesting point".

"We're excited about the potential of hypersonic technology to connect the world faster than ever before", said Bowcutt. That's because exceeding Mach 5 requires more advanced engines and materials which aren't worth the effort at this point in time. "You can get across the Atlantic in about two hours and across the Pacific in about three hours". Musk said at a space conference previous year it could take passengers from NY to Shanghai in just half an hour.

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