Saturday, 5 December 2009

Son of Concorde: New Hypersonic Airliner Will Fly To Australia In Just Over Four Hours

Flying at more than twice the speed of Concorde and five times the speed of sound, this hypersonic airliner is set to be the future of modern air travel.

Looking like a supersonic passenger plane from Gerry Anderson's Thunderbirds, the revolutionary aircraft with a top speed of 3,400mph aims to fly between London (or Brussels) and Sydney in under five hours.

Billed as the "Son of Concorde", the commercial plane is designed to carry 300 passengers and will reach speeds of Mach 5 ? five times the speed of sound.

Its hi-tech liquid hydrogen-powered engines will also produce few carbon emissions, making air travel much greener.

Alan Bond, a senior engineer in the project, partly funded by the European Space Agency and the European Union, yesterday described the aircraft as "unique".

The ground-breaking aircraft - known as the A2 ? is the work of British engineers at Reaction Engines Limited in Oxfordshire.

Specialists came up with the design as part of a project called Lapcat (Long-Term Advanced Propulsion Concepts and Technologies).

Mr Bond's team includes many who developed the British Aerospace "Hotol" engines designed in the 1980s to send aircraft into low orbit and back to earth in record time.