Supersonic airplanes are not a new concept. In fact, supersonic flight has existed for about 70 years, but innovators are making groundbreaking advancements to create a cheaper, faster, and easier method of travel for commercial flights. For example, Tom Johnson, an innovator from the United Kingdom, has developed the Cygnus M3, a sleek commercial jet that can travel from Hong Kong to Los Angeles in about four hours.
The 135-foot, 25-ton jet can travel up to 2,000 miles per hour. It is powered by two mixed-cycle turbofan engines and can hold up to 32 passengers and four crew members. Its sleek, svelte structure include variable-geometric wings that allow the plane to sweep back and forth while airborne. Since it is still illegal to travel supersonically over land, the unique wing design allows the jet to travel over land at subsonic speeds more economically. Johnson wanted to focus on longer, overseas travel, where supersonic speeds are not forbidden. The Cygnus M3 can travel up to 6,710 miles at full capacity. The one downside of futuristic travel is that it’s expensive. A plane of this caliber would cost upwards of $120 million to construct, making a round trip ticket about $3,300 per person.
The innovative design and astronomical speed of the Cygnus M3 is still a long way away from becoming a realistic option for travelers, but commercial flights at supersonic speed are not as far away.
Startup aerospace company Boom Technology announced that five commercial airlines have placed orders for a supersonic aircraft that is currently being developed. The $200 million aircraft is scheduled to be released in 2023 and will boast a top speed of 1,451 miles per hour, which is more than 2 and a half times faster than any current commercial airplane. At this speed, passengers can travel from Los Angeles to London in just over three hours.
Boom’s mission is to make the actual traveling aspect of life less of a burden, so people can enjoy their business trips and vacations, rather than dread the flights and layovers that come with it.