What can you do in 20 minutes? Make a sandwich? Put on deodorant? Fly to London?
Don’t laugh; it could happen.
One Canadian designer, Charles Bombardier, has a concept for the fastest plane ever in existence. It’s called the “Antipode” plane, and he claims that it’ll transport you from New York to London in 20 minutes.
Superman doesn’t stand a chance.
The Antipode plane would take off from a normal runway and fly at an altitude of 40,000 feet. But instead of going 570 miles per hour, like a normal airplane, it will cruise at a staggering 16,000 miles per hour (Mach 24), or 24 times faster than the speed of sound.
Rocket boosters would help in the acceleration process, then they would fall off and return to one of the bases to be reused again. That’s how a plane that’s ten times faster than the Concorde will accelerate through the sky.
If you’ve ever been to an air show, you know how loud planes are when they break the sound barrier. Now picture a plane traveling 24 times faster than that, and you can imagine how loud that will get.
In order to not destroy ear drums, Bombardier is experimenting with a scientific concept called “long penetration mode,” or LPM. Essentially, there will be a nozzle at the nose of the plane that shoots out air at supersonic speeds, mitigating the surrounding air and deafening the sound the plane makes while it’s flying through the air. The nozzle will also help cool the plane.
Of course, only those with plenty of pocket change will be able to use this concept if it comes to fruition. There will only be 10 seats on the plane, probably making each seat as expensive as Richard Branson’s rocket into space.
Bombardier is still working on the initial concept, which is why he’s opening up his concept to other innovators.
“It’s all about innovation. Share your idea, and it opens up a door for other designers to build on it,” Bombardier said.