What would Boeing’s hypersonic jet mean for travel?
Wednesday, July 11, 2018
Boeing has announced a futuristic, hypersonic jet that promises to change travel. On this plane, one could travel from Los Angeles to Tokyo in three hours or from New York to London in two.
The design was unveiled at American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics’ (AIAA) AVIATION Forum, which was held in Atlanta from June 25-29. Though it is still in a conceptual stage and could be decades away from being built, the idea has created quite a buzz.
Boeing and other aerospace companies are deep in research to build safe and robust passenger planes that can cover a thousand miles in mere minutes.
The focus is on development of lightweight materials for engines, the plane body and the fuselage, which will have immense strength and can propel the jets at greater speeds. Once the basic development is in place, these companies will set up the processes for designing and testing.
Of course, something this futuristic does not come cheap. Boeing will have to spend billions of dollars if it wants to bring the hypersonic passenger plane to market in the coming decades.
Critics believe this high development cost will affect travel cost. It may take years to make these planes cost competitive and profitable for airlines.
Fifteen years after the Concorde’s last flight, Boeing’s announcement promises an excellent future for global travel.
Passengers who shy away from long-distance flights or board one with resignation could someday expect exceptionally fast return flights across the oceans. In its plans, Boeing mentioned that, once perfected, the lightweight jets can reach anywhere on Earth in 1 to 3 hours.
Meanwhile, earlier this year, China announced successful wind tunnel testing of a potential hypersonic aircraft that can cover the thousands of miles between Beijing and New York in two hours. The double-wing hypersonic plane aced the test at 5,600 miles per hour, or Mach 7.
It can reportedly disrupt the sonic shockwaves during a hypersonic flight that would otherwise cause havoc. The double-winged design is to provide more of an increased lift than the single-wing hypersonic planes. This will, in turn, increase the plane's payload-to-takeoff-weight ratio and improve flight performance and stability.
China is looking at deploying these hypersonic technologies for uses other than passenger travel.
Since China is looking at deploying these hypersonic technologies for uses other than passenger travel, there is a growing debate about the future of global hypersonic arms race. These strategic game-changers could revolutionize global travel but have the potential to disrupt global air defenses.
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