Boeing has unveiled plans for what could be the world’s first hypersonic airliner, a sleek, futuristic-looking craft that the Seattle-based company said would be capable of flying five times the speed of sound, or about 3,800 miles per hour.
At that speed — Mach 5 in aviation parlance — it would be possible to travel from New York City to London in about two hours instead of the eight hours the trip takes on a conventional airliner.
That means someone could conceivably fly overseas for a meeting and return home in a single day.
“Humankind has always wanted to go faster — always wanted to do things faster,” said Kevin Bowcutt, chief scientist of hypersonics at Boeing. “People cannot make time, so there’s an inherent value in time.”
The as-yet-unnamed plane would be much faster not only than conventional airliners, which cruise at about 550 miles an hour, but also the supersonic Concorde aircraft that flew routes across the North Atlantic Ocean from 1976 to 2003. Concorde, produced by a British-French consortium, could reach Mach 2.04, meaning the New York City-London trip took just under four hours.
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