The Concorde used to fly from New York to London in 3.5 hours but after a nasty crash in 2000, after years of people living near airports complaining about the unbearable sonic booms, the Concorde and commercial supersonic travel became unprofitable and was retired in 2003.

The European commercial airliner consortium, Airbus recently patented a design that would fly from Paris to New York in an hour (Mach 4.5) by using rocketry to make for a nearly vertical ascent to about 95,000 feet (almost three times the altitude of a commercial airliner at the highest cruising altitudes) and then swivel its engine components to use ramjets, which would direct the sound waves horizontally, as the plane cruised at speeds over 2,500 mph (almost twice the speed of the old Concorde). It would then land using conventional turbojets.

The US has long been developing small hypersonic aircraft, which fly at speeds of Mach 5 to 15 but they’re small and unmanned, like the X-43A and doing secretive things…

Video: (8 mins):

The Future of Air Travel

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