It could signal the realisation of the holiday-maker’s dream, as a new jet is tested that could transport passengers from London to New York in just an hour. The hypersonic X-51A WaveRider is the baby of the US military and can reportedly reach 4,500mph within seconds. It does so by using a ‘scramjet’ engine and riding on its own shockwave and accelerating to around Mach 6. This new aircraft can travel at five times the speed of sound, so it’s safe to say that it will get around. While this would make everyone’s travelling plans much more convenient, further tests still need to be carried out on the jet, to make sure that it is completely safe and able to perform to the best of its ability.
If it is made available to the public, travellers would be able to take advantage of its powers of acceleration and cut down travel times significantly. Taking a trip would then simply involve booking car parking from somewhere like PARKING4LESS, heading to the airport and getting on an extremely short plane ride. Within no time, travellers could be sunning themselves on the beach or exploring the city of their choice. However, it is still early days and tests still need to be carried out on the jet.
The most recent test plan is to drop the craft from a B52 bomber over the Pacific Ocean. A rocket booster will then ignite, accelerating the craft to around Mach 4.5 and the hope is that the engine will then take over. It is expected to speed the craft to over Mach 6 and lift it upwards to an impressive 70,000ft. This type of flight, at hypersonic speeds is likely to be the next step for aircraft and it will be interesting to see what the future brings.