- This hypersonic jet can fly from NYC to Paris in an hour
- Such a jet would be mostly bought by private flights charter companies, since it would be very expensive
- connecting New York to Paris in an hour presents many advantages
- governments could make large use of this jet for multilateral meetings, like G7 and the G 20
- multinational companies could take advantage hiring such a jet
Covid and teleconferences have reduced business flights, but at 6482 km/h…
Teleconferencing saves companies and governments money,energies and the time Nevertheless, meeting in person allows more emotional involvement, enables more persuading and communicating power and can be pleasant. That’s why reducing by 80% the duration of flights could make a difference, especially for meetings at the highest level of politics and business. Although such an hypersonic jet would cost a lot to purchase and to maintain, it would be quite useful for special occasions, whereby companies and governments can resort to private jet hiring.
The Hermeus Quarterhorse can fly at t Mach 5.5, or 6482 km/h, or 4,219 mph, which means more than five times the speed of sound.
I’ve already written here about the upcoming supersonic flight. In the last year and 1/2, Boom has successfully tested its XB-1 demonstrator aircraft and received 15 orders for its Overture models from United Airlines, although this model is still in the development stage. Virgin Galactic and Rolls Royce formed partnership to develop a 19-seater. Even Russia intends building a supersonic jet for commercial use.
Then there’s the Hermeus Quarterhorse. Think supersonic or Mach 1—the speed of sound—multiply by five and you have the hypersonic Quarterhorse.
Last week Hermeus, an Atlanta-based company, has received a $60 million award from the US Air Force to finance testing of the aircraft. Hermeus Quarterhorse is conceived to travel seamlessly around the world, with a top speed of Mach 5.5—or 4,219 mph. It would be it the fastest reusable aircraft on the planet, so a New York-Paris flight would take an hour.
The Quarterhorse will fly autonomously
The speed will come from a unique engine set-up, a turbine-based combined cycle (TBCC) propulsion system. Such systems use a standard jet engine for launch and landing and to build enough speed in flight to feed air into a second turbine—known as a ramjet or scramjet—which produces more power, but requires high-speed air flow in order to ignite. The difficulty is managing the transition between the turbines and achieving the necessary aerodynamics. Hermeus is off to a good start. In nine months, it designed, built and tested its engine, which is based on GE J85 turbo jet, which has been modified to reach hypersonic speeds. It has two advantages when it comes to testing. The Quarterhorse will fly autonomously, so the development team can get prototypes in the air and learn from them without risking pilots’ lives.
Right now, it plans to test a small-scale version in 2023, a mid-size cargo-carrying version in 2025 and a larger commercial passenger version in 2029.
The other advantage is, of course, the government money. “While this partnership with the US Air Force underscores US Department of Defense interest in hypersonic aircraft, when paired with Hermeus’s partnership with NASA announced in February 2021, it is clear that there are both commercial and defense applications for what we’re building,” said AJ Piplica, Hermeus CEO.
Doesn’t it sound good enjoying an aperitif in New York followed by a dinner in Paris?
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