Travelling from London to New York and vice versa is a pastime that many people from either city love to do. Whether for business or for a weekend of shopping, travelling between the two cities takes just over 7 hours. Now, industrial designers of the world are on a mission to design a plane that will beat this time – and, in theory – their planes are beating it by a long shot.
The latest design is the Antipode by Charles Bombardier who conceived the idea with Abhishek Roy, founder of Lunatic Koncepts.
Not only is it 12 times faster than the Concorde, but it could take 12 passengers from London to New York in 11 minutes travelling at Mach 24. That’s 12 430 miles in 11 minutes.
I wanted to create an aircraft concept capable of reaching its antipode — or diametrical opposite — as fast as possible.
Okay, let’s explain:
The Antipode’s wings would be fitted with rocket boosters that would propel the aircraft to 40,000 feet, and enable it to reach Mach 5.
The plane would be powered by a scramjet engine.
Unlike conventional jet engines, scramjet engines have virtually no moving parts.
And unlike rockets, scramjet engines would burn oxygen from the atmosphere instead of having to carry heavy tanks full of oxygen.
Sure okay, but is this even going to work?
But is it feasible?
The problem with objects travelling past Mach 5 is that they get really hot – about 980 C – and there is a limit to the materials which can stand those kinds of temperatures. Also, sonic booms are “a menace in urban areas.” But Bombardier has claimed to have found a solution to both those issues:
Bombardier was contacted by Joseph Hazeltine, an engineer at Wyle, which provides technical support to both NASA and the U.S. Department of Defence.
Hazeltine suggested using an aerodynamic technique called long penetration mode, or LPM, which would use a nozzle on the aircraft’s nose to blow out air and cool down the surface temperature, while muffling the noise made from breaking the sound barrier.
Technology, hey? After watching The Martian, the logic behind it makes me all giddy. And it makes Bombardier giddy, too, even if the realisation of his concept is decades away:
It’s all about innovation. Share your idea, and it opens up a door for other designers to build on it.
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