Airbus’ Concorde-like plane will take you to New York in 4 hours
Apart from the Concorde, passenger jet travel hasn’t really evolved over the last 50 years or so. But French aeronautics company Airbus, and supersonic jet manufacturer Aerion, have revealed their plan to change the world of passenger flight.
Their plane, the AS2, is a 170ft-long, 12-passenger supersonic jet capable of flying up to speeds of around 1,200mph. Its design is a feat of engineering and, while it may not be as fast as Concorde, it’s compliant with worldwide flight regulations and is efficient in its energy usage – which the Concorde definitely wasn’t.
Don’t expect to look up and see the AS2 streaking overhead like an unmanned drone anytime soon, though. Aerion is planning its first test flight in 2021, with entry into service in 2023. The first hurdle Aerion has to overcome is actually selecting and manufacturing the jet’s engines, which it believes it will do in the first half of next year.
The AS2 is also a feat of aeronautical engineering as it uses a completely new type of wing for passenger aircraft, has a body designed to significantly reduce drag, and can cross the Atlantic in just over four hours. Imagine that, you could be in New York in less time than taking a train to Edinburgh from London.
Due to the safety, cost and issues around noise, commercial supersonic flight was scrapped with the death of Concorde in 2003. NASA has been hard at work trying to reduce the effects of the incredibly loud noise produced from a sonic boom, and as Aerion has a history of working with NASA on top projects, it’s likely the AS2 will actually succeed in creating a new industry for supersonic passenger flight.
Of course, it’s worth keeping in mind that you’ll probably never get to fly on Aerion’s jet due to its measly 12-passenger capacity and the inevitably extortionate ticket price.
While the AS2 may be a while off yet, next year will see the launch and test flight of the largest plane ever made.