Flights From L.A. To New York City In An Hour In Our Future?
Can you imagine flying from Los Angeles to New York City in less than an hour? The U.S. military is testing a superfast jet this week, which could be one step closer to making this a reality.
According to the Los Angeles Times, a key test is scheduled for Tuesday (August 14), where an unmanned experimental aircraft called X-51A WaveRider will reach speeds up to Mach 6. While the test is expected to last just 300 seconds, it’s twice as long as it’s ever gone at that speed.
If a passenger aircraft traveled at that speed, it could fly from Los Angeles to New York in 46 minutes.
How far away this technology is from passenger planes is unknown, but aerospace engineers say that harnessing technology capable of sustaining hypersonic speeds is crucial to the next generation of missiles, aircraft, and spacecraft.
“Attaining sustained hypersonic flight is like going from propeller-driven aircraft to jet aircraft,” Robert A. Mercier, deputy for technology in the high speed systems division at the Air Force Research Laboratory in Ohio, told the paper. “Since the Wright brothers, we have examined how to make aircraft better and faster. Hypersonic flight is one of those areas that is a potential frontier for aeronautics. I believe we’re standing in the door waiting to go into that arena.”
The paper reports that the Pentagon itself is funding six major hypersonic technology programs. Over the last 10 years, the Pentagon said it spent as much as $2 billion on hypersonic technologies and supporting engineering.
The WaveRider program is estimated to cost $140 million, according to Globalsecurity.org, a website for military policy research.