Your average flight to the opposite end of the world takes hours. London to Auckland, New Zealand, takes up to 24 hours with just a single stop. Wouldn’t it be nice if that were possible in, say, half an hour? That may be the case in our near future.
The Antipode is a concept aircraft that is developed by Canadian designer, Charles Bombardier. He claims that it could reduce a flight from London to New York right down to 20 minutes. His website claims that the aircraft could reach speeds of a whopping 16,000 mph. In other words, Mach 24, and to put that into perspective, 21 times the speed of sound. When you consider that a Boeing 717 (for example) travels at roughly 500mph, that’s damn fast.
If a vehicle could pull off such speed without breaking the laws of physics, or the even the entire vehicle itself, it would be hell of a breakthrough. Visiting iconic landmarks around the world would become a day trip as opposed to a long stay holiday!
The closest technology that man has had to this so far was the Concorde, which retired in 2003. It is sometimes infamously remembered for its only ever fatal incident, the Air France Flight 4590 disaster. Concorde reached speeds of 1,600mph, but was discontinued due to heat build-up along the edge of its nose, as well as a loud sonic boom over land. The same issue’s Bombardier faced with his earlier concept.
However, Joseph Hazeltine, an engineer for Wyre (a company that provides NASA and the US Department of Defence with technical services) saw the potential in Bombardier’s earlier concept and says he has a way to avoid these problems by implementing a new technology called “long penetration mode”. This involves channeling some of the air through a nozzle in the nose and creating a counter-flow of air, reducing the sonic boom and cooling the surfaces of the aircraft.
The aircraft is still in its conceptual stages, but Charles has told the BBC he hopes to get more funding so he can revolutionize air travel. It sounds truly amazing, and I hope we all get to see this successfully in our lifetimes!