Will Airbus Build the Next Generation of Concorde?

By Dania Vargas Austryjak

A jet that could fly 4 times the speed of sound.

In 2011, Airbus published the design for an "ultra-rapid air vehicle", the patent of which was just approved recently by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The jet has been characterized as the 2.0 version of the retired Concorde, and would theoretically be able travel as fast as four-and-a-half times the speed of sound or Mach 4.5. This way it could connect New York to London in just ONE HOUR!

This hypersonic jet for commercial service could revolutionize the air travel as it is stated that this aircraft could fly twice as fast as the now-defunct supersonic jet, the Concorde, which was retired in 2003.

As the documents of the patent explain, quoted by the BBC, the vehicle would have two turbojets under the fuselage, used for taxiing and take-off; a rocket motor in the rear which would make it lift vertically to reach an altitude of over 100,000 feet; then the ramjets, which would boost the speed to Mach 4.5.

Jetstar Airbus A320

Original Image: “Jetstar Airbus A320 in a hangar” by Jetstar Airways, used under CC BY-SA 2.0, via Flickr.

The sonic booms resulting from the Concorde’s traveling faster than the speed of sound used to affect people back when it was in use. This new aircraft is proposing a vertical lift that would dissipate the sonic boom in all directions, ensuring it does not reach the ground to eliminate noise pollution.

If the jet is actually built in the future, it is said that it could connect Madrid and Mexico City; Paris and San Francisco; or Tokyo and Los Angeles in just three hours. The "ultra-rapid air vehicle" would only carry 20 passengers instead of the plus 100 passengers on regular flights. Although it is still in its planning phase, Airbus said it would take 30 to 40 years to bring this technology into service, if at all.

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