Passengers travelling from London to New York in under 30 minutes might sound like science fiction but it’s a lot closer than you think.
Thanks to a combination of new – and some surprisingly old – technology, we are on the threshold of a new era in passenger travel that will not only make New York commutable from London, but also put Sydney, Australia within a stunning two hour flight time.
NASA has teamed up with Lockheed Martin and the US Airforce to announce that ‘hypersonic’ air travel is now considered inevitable.
What is hypersonic air travel?
Hypersonic means travelling at more than five times the speed of sound. That’s an incredible 3000mph.
We’ve had the ability to fly this fast for a surprisingly long time. It was first achieved way back in 1967 by an American aeronautical engineer called William John “Pete” Knight on a rocket powered jet called the North American X-15. They managed to hit an eye-watering top speed of 4520mph.
Since then the stumbling block has been surprisingly mundane. The real obstacle to commercial hypersonic flight has actually been about noise pollution. The sonic boom caused by an aeroplane going hypersonic is enough to prevent the planes from becoming a commercial reality. But now experts believe they may have finally found a way.
NASA is in the process of designing a passenger jet that can break the sound barrier with no sonic boom and is looking to start test flights within the next three years. If they can make it work the ban on supersonic aircraft travelling over land could be lifted, paving the way for a new era in weekend globe-trotting.
Air travel that will change the world
When you consider that a flight to Sydney currently takes 20 hours if you’re lucky, the idea of it being the same travelling time as a current flight to Malaga, Spain really does put into perspective just how small the world is about to become.
As this CNBC video demonstrates, we are almost there. And when we consider that we first started manufacturing and supplying aerospace fasteners back in 1957, the idea that we are about to be part of an industry can take people to the brink of space at unimaginable speeds really does fill us with excitement and optimism. Roll on 2017 we say!
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