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Airbus developing supersonic plane so fast you’ll blink and your journey is over

It could get from London to New York in just one hour.
  • Airbus is developing a supersonic aircraft
  • The patent documents describe it as an ‘ultra-rapid’ jet
  • It’s capable of traveling up to about 4.5 times the speed of sound

Published on Feb 21, 2024 at 4:00PM (UTC+4)

Last updated on Feb 21, 2024 at 9:23PM (UTC+4)

Edited by Alessandro Renesis

If you thought commercial air travel was a thing of the past, get this: Airbus is developing a supersonic aircraft.

According to the patent documents, the Airbus being created is an ‘ultra-rapid’ jet.

Its design makes it capable of traveling up to 4.5 times the speed of sound.

READ MORE! Video shows inside commercial plane that accidentally flew faster than the speed of sound

To put that into context, it’s fast enough to get from London to New York in just one hour.

Or from Paris, France, to San Francisco in less than 3 hours.

Two decades since Concorde made its final flight, and this isn’t the only supersonic commercial plane in the works.

This Chinese aerospace company created a winged rocket concept that can fly from New York to Beijing in just one hour.

What’s more, the Overture from Boom Supersonic will be the fastest jet in the world.

Ever the innovator, NASA have also entered the race with the ‘quiet’ X-59.

And breaking the sound barrier isn’t always intentional.

This commercial plane accidentally hits supersonic speeds over the Atlantic at the weekend.

It was all down to near record-breaking wind over the mid-Atlantic region.

Back to the Airbus, and the patent describes the supersonic craft as “an air vehicle including a fuselage, a gothic delta wing positioned either side of the fuselage, and a system of motors able to propel the air vehicle.”

Side note: the Concorde also featured a delta wing design.

It was powered by four Rolls-Royce Olympus turbojet engines with variable engine intake ramps and reheat for take-off and acceleration to supersonic speed.

The biggest issue faced was the destructive sonic boom caused as it broke the sound barrier.

According to National Geographic, supersonic flights over land have been banned by the US Federal Aviation Administration since 1973, due to the noise disruptions that sonic booms can cause.

This conceptual Airbus design mitigates this problem.

The unique design, propulsion systems, and its unusual flight path mean this wouldn’t be an issue.

It’s powered by three different types of engines that work in sequential order.

A pair of traditional jet engines at the bottom of the fuselage power the aircraft during taking off and landing.

These retract into the fuselage to reduce drag once the Airbus is in the air.

YouTube/PatentYogi

From there a pair of rocket engines take over from the back of the Airbus.

In fact, the supersonic jet would actually travel upwards vertically like a rocket until it reaches an altitude of 100,000 feet.

That’s almost at the Kármán line – the boundary between Earth and space.

At cruising altitude the rocket motors shut down and also retract.

Then a pair of wing-mounted ramjets kick in and propel the aircraft to its top speed.

The maximum speed is Mach 4.5 (about 5,557 km/h / 3,453 mph) – twice that of Concorde.

Its innovative delta-shaped winglets can change and rotate around its central axis to accomodate its unprecedented speeds and flight path.

The aim is to limit its sonic boom.

The patent application reveals that the aircraft in a civil application is designed to carry up to 20 passengers and features unique hammock-esque seats.

A military iteration of the Airbus has also been proposed.

It would be a reconnaissance plane like the SR71 Blackbird.

While the patent was filed over eight years ago, watch this space to see whether the Airbus vision of supersonic travel will be taking off soon.

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