27.8.11

Hypersonic Flight Successful

There was a point in time not so long ago when supersonic flight was thought to be decades into the future, as a pilot and an aviation enthusiast I thought my life would not witness commercial travel at speed higher than 95% of the speed of sound or in aviation parlance .95 mach. Especially since the demise of the beautiful Concorde and the cancellation of the Sonic Cruiser.

Both sides of the Atlantic seemed to have dropped out of the race for what once was -arguably- the most prestigious record to showcase the technological achievements and aerodynamic knowledge of the time.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear of an August 11th launch of a DARPA project that allowed an unmanned vehicle to accelerate to speeds exceeding mach 20 and sustain flight for at those speeds for around 3 minutes. Surely it is part of Prompt Global Strike, which is the American idea to be able to strike anywhere in the world with conventional non-ICBM weapons "within
an hour or two"

Why would I be excited about such news? It goes without saying that breakthroughs in military technology radiate to civilian aviation albeit a few decades later, all the inventions from the jet engines to the composites of the B787 and from the transponder to the HUD started their life in the military. I expect that Boeing engineers and maybe even Airbus will learn from Hypersonic experiments and revisit a supersonic commercial aircraft only this time have it as wide spread as the B747 which was designed as a cargo plane in an era where all future travel was thought to be heading towards supersonic travel.


Simply put, I want to fly the next Concorde ;)
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