Supersonic Cygnus M3 can be the Future of Commercial Flight
On board the Cygnus M3, you’d be able to fly from Hong Kong to Los Angeles in just four hours! UK-based innovator Tom Johnson created the supersonic aircraft concept which has a top speed of Mach 3 or 2,000 mph / 3,240 kph and features a sleek, svelte structure with variable-geometry wings that can sweep back and forth while airborne. He says: “The swing-wing design permits slower, safer, and quieter take-off and landing, and would also allow the jet to cruise more economically at subsonic speeds when over land, where commercial supersonic flight is currently illegal.”
Other than focusing on reducing the sonic boom generated by short-range, Johnson strived to conceptualize “a faster, longer-range aircraft that would enable an over-water route business case to be built, even if the over-land supersonic flight was still prohibited.” The result is a 135-foot-long, 25-ton jet powered by two mixed-cycle turbofan engines and able to accommodate up to 32 passengers and four crew members. Johnson predicts that the plane-which could travel up to 6,710 miles fully loaded-would require an estimated $120 million to construct and tickets for the commercial airliner would cost roughly $3,300 per head for a round-trip flight, depending on fuel prices.
The Cygnus M3 could theoretically be built with existing know-how, but it would take at least a decade to produce a viable prototype, Johnson admits. On the other side, supersonic flight is well on its way to making a comeback.
Boom Technology, start-up aerospace company, announced at the Paris Air Show last month that five airlines-among them, Virgin-have placed orders for a supersonic commercial craft it is currently developing. The $200 million passenger jet, which is slated to arrive by 2023, will boast a top speed of Mach 2.2, or 1,451 mph (more than two-and-a-half times faster than any other commercial plane), allowing travelers to fly from New York to London in a little over three hours.
The airline is still in its concept phase; however, the XB-1-a smaller version of the Boom commercial plane, touted as “the first independently developed supersonic jet and history’s fastest civil aircraft”-is slated to take to the skies next year.
Boom states on its website as ”Long flights are a barrier to travel. We’re removing that barrier, turning eight-hour red eyes into three- to four-hour daytime flights. Excruciating 16-hour journeys become easy overnights. When you can get there in half the time, where will you go?”