Traveling faster the speed of sound could be within your grasp as a civilian traveler.

And no, we’re not talking about planned extraterrestrial flights by firms like Space X. As it turns out, Boeing is reportedly almost ready to unveil its monster new jet. The hypersonic jet is expected to be able to fly five times the speed of sound. Boeing says it could travel at roughly 4,000 miles per hour and fly from New York to London in 2 hours. Developers expect it will probably have military uses. They also think it will revolutionize long distance air travel. And it could be in the air by 2050, early enough for some of us to actually enjoy it!

This is not the first effort to provide supersonic commercial flights.

Boeing’s hypersonic jet boasts impressive stats, but it is not the first commercial jet to break the sound barrier. The Concorde, which offered faster intercontinental flight for a premium price, ended its run in 2003. As it turned out, not enough wealthy travelers seemed interested in paying that extra price to save a few hours.

Since then, airlines and manufacturers have worked to determine how to make the business model more attractive to consumers. Boeing thinks it has the answer in a plane that is larger than some of its other ultra fast competitors. It is still significantly smaller than typical passenger jets, though, which would be far too heavy.
Concorde, Hypersonic flight, hypersonic jet, boeing,

Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Arpingston

Boeing is proud of what it thinks could be the beginning of an exciting frontier in hypersonic flight.

According to the company’s senior technical fellow and chief scientist of hypersonics, Boeing is on the right track.

“We’re excited about the potential of hypersonic technology to connect the world faster than ever before,” Kevin Bowcutt said. He asserted the company is “building upon a foundation of six decades of work” in the field. That work included “designing, developing and flying hypersonic vehicles,” he said.

Bowcutt celebrated Boeing’s commitment to the process. He called it “the right company to lead the effort in bringing this technology to market in the future.”

It is not just Boeing fighting for a share of this emerging market.

Even though Space X has space in its name, head honcho Elon Musk has plans for suborbital flight, too. He claims his rocket could feasibly deliver anyone anywhere in the world in a half hour. That seems a bit absurd, of course, given the current travel times we are forced to live with. But since he is developing a rocket, not a plane, then all bets are off.

Along with his company’s envisioned spacecraft, this rocket is also just in the developmental phase. But with Boeing’s entry in the hypersonic jet market, the battle might be heating up. When companies compete to make traveling faster and easier, it just might be travelers who win.

What are your thoughts? Are you ready for shorter travel times? Let us know in the comments below.

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