Would You Board a 16,000 MPH Flight?

L.A. to Sydney in an hour. It's coming. (We hope.)

By Diane Rommel

 
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08 December 2016

The future can't get here fast enough for air travelers. Imagine, instead of the middle seat on a United flight where, someday soon, you'll have to pay for the "privilege" of putting a bag in the overhead compartment, a seat on an aircraft traveling fast. Like f*cking fast: 16,000 miles per hour fast. That's London to New Zealand in 30 minutes, and it might come courtesy of — you guessed it — physics. 

Welcome the Antipode supersonic aircraft: “The idea of going from New York to London in, say 20 minutes — that's what I think really grabbed people,” Canadian designer Charles Bombardier told the BBC. The Antipode would go 16,000 miles per hour. By the way — that's Mach 24. By comparison, the Concorde? That plane, our last supersonic commercial craft, went at Mach 2. 

So how do they achieve the speed? Rocket boosters, which would launch the craft into the atmosphere and then return to the airfield for reuse. (They could also be used, in the literal opposite direction, to slow the plane down, if need be.) 

Bombardier made headlines last year with his concept for the Skreemr, more similar to the Concorde. While that concept didn't (cough) fly, its publication put Bombardier in touch with physicists working with NASA and the Department of Defense — and this new, even more innovative project was born. 

It's just a concept, Bombardier points out. 

But hey: So were cars, at one point. 

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