A new luxury jet could get you (and 17 of your closest friends) from New York to London in just 3 hours.
Spike Aerospace's S-512 Supersonic Jet was introduced in 2013, but the Boston-based company recently announced a few exciting updates to the plane's design that could make it safer for jetsetters. And the updated design could also make the superfast plane even speedier, company represenatives said.
Spike Aerospace's engineers claim the S-512 could reach a maximum speed of Mach 1.8 (1,370 mph, or 2,205 km/h), which is 1.8 times the speed of sound. For comparison, the fastest Boeing 747 commercial "jumbo jet" can reach a maximum speed of Mach 0.92 (700 mph, or 1,126 km/h). If the S-512 really is built to reach these supersonic speeds, it would be as fast as an F-18 Hornet, a military fighter jet with a max speed of Mach 1.8. This would also make the supersonic jet about 450 mph (724 km/h) faster than the fastest civilian jet, according to Spike Aerospace. [See photos of Spike Aerospace's S-512 Supersonic Jet]
At such blistering speeds, passengers could travel from New York to London in 3 hours, or fly from Paris to Dubai "for shopping and entertainment and back home in time for dinner," the company states on its website. This superfast travel is facilitated by the plane's newly designed "delta" wings, according to Anutosh Moitra, a senior engineer at Spike Aerospace.
"The new delta wing of the S-512 delivers high aerodynamic efficiency and improved flight performance in both low-speed flight and supersonic cruise," Moitra said in a statement.
Both the shape of the jet's wings and its newly modified tail help reduce drag, or air resistance, which slows the plane down and decreases the fuel efficiency of the aircraft, Moitra added. The new tail also makes the plane lighter, which, in turn, helps it fly faster, he added.
But the jet's speed is only part of its allure. The planned interior of the plane, dubbed the "Multiplex Cabin," looks like something out of a very fancy science-fiction movie, with huge windows that allow for panoramic views and seating options that put conventional first class to shame. (Spike Aerospace is planning to install real tables in the plane's cabin.)
Of course, all of this luxury will cost you. The S-512, designed as a business jet, will likely cost between $60 million and $80 million, according to a report by Science Alert. Despite this sobering price tag, Vik Kachoria, CEO and president of Spike Aerospace, thinks "flying supersonic is clearly the future of aviation."
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Elizabeth is a former Live Science associate editor and current director of audience development at the Chamber of Commerce. She graduated with a bachelor of arts degree from George Washington University. Elizabeth has traveled throughout the Americas, studying political systems and indigenous cultures and teaching English to students of all ages.