Mary-Ann Russon — International Business Times Feb 19, 2014
Spike Aerospace is hoping to raise $250,000 from crowdfunding to go towards building a supersonic private jet that has no windows and can fly from London to New York in just four hours.
The futuristic Spike S-512 luxury jet is estimated to cost $60 million (£36m, €44m) and will be able to carry a maximum of 18 passengers at a time.
In place of windows, the jet will feature giant screens that stream live video taken from micro-cameras surrounding the outside of the plane to show passengers what is going on outside, or be used to project movies and other content.
The Boston-based company is ditching the traditional oval windows seen in aircrafts today as they slow the plane down by adding extra weight and weakening the body of the aircraft.
“There are several reasons for removing the windows from the cabin. It has long been known that the windows cause significant challenges in designing and constructing an aircraft fuselage. They require addition structural support, add to the parts count and add weight to the aircraft,” Spike Aerospace President and CEO Vik Kachoria explains in a blog post.
“But until recently, it has not been possible to do without them.”
Commercial airlines today usually fly at the speeds of .85 Mach, which is about 567 miles per hours (mph). In contrast, the Spike S-512 has been designed to fly at speeds of 1.6 – 1.8 Mach (1060-1200mph), using advanced composite materials, avionics and jet propulsion technologies.
The founders of Spike Aerospace are aerospace engineers who previously worked for aircraft manufacturers such as Boeing, Airbus, Gulfstream and Nasa. They have been designing the supersonic jet for two years and hope to launch the aircraft in December 2018.
In order to generate publicity for their project, Spike Aerospace has launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise $250,000. The money will be used to help complete the next phase of the aircraft design, which will cost a total of $800,000.
“Don’t worry, we don’t expect crowd-funding to provide the hundreds of millions of dollars to build this jet. We are looking to you to move it forward to the point where we can attract investors to finalise this jet,” the company writes on its Indiegogo campaign page.
Nasa and Boeing are also trying to develop supersonic aircraft of their own that can reduce the noise made by jets when they break the sound barrier, but at the moment, supersonic flights are banned in the US by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has also indicated an interested in supersonic jets.
“I do think there’s an interesting opportunity to create a supersonic, electric, vertical take-off and landing jet,” he told an audience at the New York Times Dealbook conference in November 2013.
“It seems unlikely to come from Boeing or Airbus, given that they seem to be focused on very incremental improvements to their planes as opposed to radical improvements. So it could come from a start-up. If I were to have another company in the future, which would not be any time soon, I think that would be the thing to do.”