Fancy being shot to Mach 10 via a magnetic railgun, or even hitting Mach 24 to make New York to London an 11-minute hop across the pond? Welcome to the latest bizjet concepts.
Every great idea starts life as a concept, normally accompanied by some pretty sketchy renders. Yes, around 99% of them probably never come to fruition, but they are 100% fascinating nonetheless.
One such dreamer looking for the magic 1% winner is Canadian engineer Charles Bombardier. His family has previously struck concept gold – grandfather Joseph-Armand invented the snowmobile, don’t you know.
But let’s get back to Charles. Recently he put forward his plans for an aircraft called the Skreemr. Admittedly, this sounds more like a rollercoaster than coast to coaster, but it claims to be able to carry 75 passengers at speeds up to Mach 10.
Bombardier (and decent concept rendering creator Ray Mattison) foresee the Skreemr as a jet launched from a magnetic railgun at speeds close to Mach 4. The Skreemr would then use liquid oxygen or kerosene rockets to increase its altitude and speed until it was going fast enough to utilise a scramjet engine. The scramjet would compress incoming air for engine combustion, burning hydrogen and oxygen to accelerate to Mach 10 (7,673 mph).
Bombardier admits huge technological barriers – not least in finding an affordable material that could withstand the extreme heat of acceleration. And that’s before we start on the magnetic railgun….
However, Bombardier was further inspired when he was contacted by another designer who had seen his Skreemr plans. Joseph Hazeltine of Wyle Inc proposed using a novel aerodynamic phenomenon called long penetration mode (LPM). A nozzle in the nose would lower the surface temperature and reduce the shockwave and noise related to breaking the sound barrier.
Unlike the Skreemr, the Antipode aircraft (the basic blue and silver renders seen here) would take off directly from any airfield by using reusable rocket boosters. These rockets would attach to the wings of the Antipode and provide enough thrust to climb to 40,000ft, and reach Mach 5.
The boosters would then separate and fly back to the airfield. At Mach 5, the supersonic combustion ramjet engine would kick in and take the aircraft to Mach 24 at 40,000 feet. Such speeds would make New York to London possible in just 11 minutes. That’s 11 minutes. And 16,000mph.
When you consider other research and production pushing the supersonic dream, perhaps it’s time to take some of these futuristic concepts more seriously.