1. tominsf says

    “that can hold 300… but the $1.1 billion price tag per plane will likely render it accessible to only the extremely well-to-do…”

    All three hundred of whom – billionaires all – suddenly decide they want to go to the same place while stuffed into a cramped, windowless space.

    Doesn’t anybody think before trying to foist this hopelessly impractical stuff on a gullible public?

  2. Moz's says

    the pentagon should (if haven’t already) stick some scientists on it

    the best way to lower the cost, improve the design, etc is to remove the desire for profit in building it and there is nothing like pentagon cash to really improve a design

  3. Bill says

    They are designing an engine, not an airplane.

    Their obvious customer is the U.S. Air Force, which would love to be able to transport troops, bombs, etc., at those speeds.

    To the extent that it allows one to reduce the size and weight of a jet engine for a given power output and engine efficiency, it will be useful in subsonic jets as well. Less weight means lower fuel costs. That, of course, doesn’t make a “sexy” video.

  4. Blue Whirl says

    Let’s really think about the cost.

    Suppose it can fly LHR-SYD in 4 hours. Let’s give it some rest time for refueling and loading, say it can fly 4 times in 24 hours on this route.

    Let’s say it’s not always full and carries 250 passengers a trip on average. So on a day, it carries 1000 passengers.

    If it works 360 days a year for 10 years, that’s 3,600,000 one-way tickets a decade.

    $1.1B price tag can be recovered if each ticket chips in $305.

    It just might be affordable for the general economy-class-flying public.

  5. says

    I would take Elon Musk’s Hyperloop over this any day – while Musk’s design has all of the challenges of a major infrastructure investment, it’s also incredibly energy efficient and can be made even more environmentally friendly than the base design (e.g. solar panels along the length of the above-ground tubes, using existing rail space, etc). Can you imagine the amount of fossil fuels this thing has to burn (and exhaust into the atmosphere) to Pre-cool air at a rate of 400 MW?

  6. Bill says

    @Blue Whirl: don’t forget fuel costs, which are much, much higher for supersonic flight than for subsonic flight. Also there’s maintenance costs, etc.

    Then there’s the heat generated by as the plane moves at high speed through the air, which might
    require “skipping” out of most of the atmosphere to give the outside of the plane a chance to cool (which means you have to have enough oxygen on board – you can’t just use compressors to keep the
    cabin pressurized.

  7. Alan says

    The USAAF may have to do without. Its NOT a US technology. The RAF, however, may well be interested.

    And from what little has been published about Hyperloop suggests its a land-based system. Not a lot of help for London-LA or London-Sydney passengers.

  8. MOZ's says

    @ alan

    :-) you cheeky Brits , as if the royal air force won’t totally give the plans to us on a silver platter. & or NSA wont bug the necessary plans then US sells on the cheap a few to our Uk allies

  9. says

    The writer says, “the $1.1 billion price tag per plane will likely render it accessible to only the extremely well-to-do unless a way of subsidizing the plane’s costs can be found.” That is just daft and exhibits a lack of understanding about how technology and markets work. Many devices that are now commonly used by everyone were luxury items for the well-to-do at one time, and yet didn’t receive subsidies. If anything, subsidies are likely to mess things up. Even the calculator was a luxury item, as were cell phones, home computers, the Internet, etc.

  10. alex says

    A price tag of $1.1 billion is outrageous when you consider that an Airbus A380 price is $245-390 million (based on different variations and capacity). Obviously, operating costs will matter…but, the initial price tag isn’t a deal breaker.

    Imagine the premium an airline could charge on an ultra-long-haul route if a 14-15 hour flight could be cut to 3.5-4 hours.

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