Mark Prigg — Daily Mail June 27, 2018
Boeing has revealed a radical concept for a hypersonic passenger plane.
The unnamed concept, revealed at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics conference in Atlanta this week, shows a Concorde-like design.
The Mach 5 passenger transport would be capable of crossing the Atlantic in 2 hr. or the Pacific in 3.
The concept is provisionally aimed at a passenger capacity larger than long-range business jets, but smaller than Boeing’s 737, with potential entry into service from the late 2030s onward, according to Aviation Week
Flying at Mach 5, and with a projected cruise altitude of 95,000 ft., the vehicle would travel at more than 2.5 times the speed and 30,000 ft. higher than the supersonic Anglo-French Concorde, which was retired in 2003.
Boeing claims it will allow passengers to commute between London and New York by buying same-day return flights, even across the Pacific.
‘Building the future at Boeing requires looking decades ahead at what could be possible, and innovating now to make it happen,’ Boeing said.
‘We’re excited about the potential of hypersonic technology to connect the world faster than ever before,’ said Kevin Bowcutt, senior technical fellow and chief scientist of hypersonics.
‘Boeing is building upon a foundation of six decades of work designing, developing and flying experimental hypersonic vehicles, which makes us the right company to lead the effort in bringing this technology to market in the future.’
Although Bowcutt can’t speculate when hypersonic flight for global travel will be a reality, he says it’s possible a hypersonic passenger vehicle could be airborne in 20 to 30 years.
The plan forms part of a broader Boeing program expected to include a reusable hypersonic demonstrator in the near term.
This vehicle, if sanctioned, would be used to prove a wide range of airframe, systems and propulsion technologies for multiple applications, and could be flown as early as 2023 or 2024, says Boeing chief scientist for hypersonics Kevin Bowcutt.
‘You have to do these kinds of studies now to know where we have to push the technology and where we have to advance things,’ Bowcutt told Aviation Week.
However, he added the military could have access to the technology far sooner.
‘Technologically we could have an [operational military] hypersonic aircraft, such as an ISR, flying in 10 years.
‘But there’s a lot that goes into a commercial airplane, including the market, regulatory and environmental requirements, so it will happen when there is a convergence of those things.’