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Even if the circumstances don’t really allow for travel right now, the future of commercial flight is looking extremely exciting.
That’s because a new supersonic jet currently in development by NASA and U.S. aircraft manufacturer Aerion will reportedly be able to cut the time spent in the air by an incredible amount.
The new aircraft is called the AS3, and will be able to achieve Mach 4+ speeds – over four times faster than a commercial liner such as an Airbus A320 – while carrying 50 passengers over 7,000 nautical miles.
To put that into easily-understood numbers, the plane will supposedly be able to achieve speeds between 2,302 mph and 3,836 mph – which is crazy fast, and will be able to take passengers from L.A. to Tokyo within the span of three hours. For comparison, a typical flight from LAX to Tokyo’s Narita International Airport takes approximately 11 hours, give or take.
“Our vision is to build a future where humanity can travel between any two points on our planet within three hours. Supersonic flight is the starting point, but it is just that – the beginning,” said Aerion’s chairman, president and CEO, Tom Vice, in a statement. “We must push the boundaries of what is possible.”
The plane is part of Aerion’s collaboration with NASA to develop commercial flight planes that can cruise comfortable within the Mach 3 to Mach 5 range, and is currently still in the conceptualization stage. More plans will be revealed later in 2021.
In the meantime, meet its elder, less-powerful (but still crazy fast) sibling.
Before the AS3 rolls out, passengers can first expect to see roll-out of Aerion’s AS2 plane, which – although not as fast as the AS3 – is already way more advanced in its development cycle.
The AS2 will be able to travel at Mach 1.4 speeds, or over 1,000 mph, and will fit between eight to 12 passengers. Theoretically, it should be able to fly from New York to London in 4.5 hours.
A concept image of the Aerion AS2. IMAGE: Business Wire
Aerion hopes that the AS2 will become the first supersonic passenger jet to successfully enter the mainstream following the retirement of the last Concorde jet over 17 years ago.
Interestingly, the AS2 will also look to be more eco-friendly and less noisy than the Concorde, even despite its ability to reach incredible speeds.
“Concorde was a brilliant piece of machinery, a noble experiment, but it put too much emissions in the environment, too much noise into our communities, and was too expensive to operate,” said Vice. “What we’re trying to do is very different.”
This is what the interior of the AS2 could look like. IMAGE: AviTrader
There are many ways in which the AS2 will be more green, but two noteworthy features that will be found on the craft will be a lack of afterburners – which means less emissions into the environment, and its ability to run completely on synthetic fuels instead of fossil fuels.
Also the jet – despite its tremendous power – will not be much louder than other commercial jets today during takeoff and landing, and will also feature a “boomless cruise” feature that allows the AS2 to enter supersonic speeds without a sonic boom hitting the ground.
Production of the AS2 jets will begin in 2023, with the first commercial flights planned for sometime in 2024.
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Cover image sourced from CNN.
ที่มา : Mashable