It’s a fast moving world, and it’s set to get even faster with the planned introduction of Spike Aerospace’s S-512 supersonic jet aircraft. Two years in design, its Boston based engineers aim for it to halve international travel times, flying at up to 1,100mph with the ability to reach Mach 1.6. In practical terms that means a trip from Los Angeles to Tokyo should take just five hours.
If that sounds hopeful, its worth remembering that the Spike Aerospace team already have an impressive track record, with experience gained from working with some of the most renowned aircraft companies. Even the occasional traveller cannot fail to recognise such names as Airbus, Bombardier and Gulfstream.
Supersonic travel certainly won’t come cheap, though. The luxury jet will cater for just 12-18 travellers, and with a price tag of between $60- $80million (£36.3-£48.4million), it is expected to appeal initially to multinational companies and busy executives; for whom time really is money.
For now, it’s not cash but patience that will have to be the watchword for the hopeful supersonic traveller. The dream of “crossing the pond” in little more time than it currently takes to ferry across the English Channel to France will have to remain so for just a little while longer. Spike Aerospace has announced that the inaugural flight is planned for December 2018 – with a headlining London to New York time of just three hours.
However, the Federal Aviation Authority’s current ban on supersonic flight over America means that onward travel may not be quite so fast, although NASA and Boeing are both aiming to develop supersonic craft that reduce sonic boom.