Boeing’s Hypersonic Plane Could Fly You Almost Anywhere in the World Within Three Hours

Boeing says the first passenger-carrying hypersonic plane could be ready to fly in 20 to 30 years.
Boeing says the first passenger-carrying hypersonic plane could be ready to fly in 20 to 30 years. | © Boeing
Boeing has unveiled a concept plane capable of reaching most locations in the world within one to three hours.

The as-of-yet unnamed aircraft would be able to reach speeds of around 3,800mph – five times the speed of sound – meaning passengers would be able to fly from London to New York City in just two hours, instead of the seven to eight hour journey it is now.

While the hypersonic plane is currently just a concept, the design is based on current research by Boeing engineers, with the company estimating that something similar to the concept could be operational in 20 to 30 years’ time.

Kevin Bowcutt, chief scientist of hypersonics at Boeing, said: ‘Humankind has always wanted to go fast – always wanted to do things faster. We’re excited about the potential of hypersonic technology to connect the world quicker than ever before.’

Stuart Craig, an assistant professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering at the University of Arizona, who is not affiliated with Boeing, told NBC: ‘It’s been a dream for a while now. We’ve been striving for this hypersonic technology for the better part of half a century, but in recent years, advances in computational technology and materials technology have made it much more in grasp.’

Boeing’s concept design follows a surge in hypersonic plane innovation. Earlier this year, NASA unveiled the supersonic X-Plane, capable of flying faster than the speed of sound. Unlike its predecessor, Concorde, which, before being discontinued, raised concerns due to the excessive noise from its sonic booms, X-Plane won’t be audible from the ground.

Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Elon Musk’s SpaceX have also stated intentions to adapt their rockets into Earthly passenger aviators, with Musk claiming passengers would be able to travel from ‘any city to any other city in under one hour’.

Boeing’s concept aircraft will be on display at the Farnborough International Airshow, running from 16 to 22 July in Hampshire, England. Adult weekend tickets are available for £64. An adult day ticket is available for £42. Under-16s attend free. All tickets available online here.

These recommendations were updated on July 5, 2018 to keep your travel plans fresh.