Airbus patents jet that would fly above the atmosphere
Airbus has won approval from the US Patent Office for a hypersonic passenger plane that would cut the journey time from Paris to Tokyo from 12 to under three hours.
The idea, first published in 2011, is to use three different kinds of engine power to jump above the atmosphere while still using regular runways for takeoff, reports UK newspaper the Guardian.
The proposed plane has “gothic delta wings” that echo the curves of supersonic jet Concorde, which was taken out of service in 2003 due to high operating costs, and would take off using a jet engine.
Rocket boosters would then kick in to start a sharp ascent, sending the plane soaring above the atmosphere, and ramjet engines would take the plane up to altitudes of about 30km as the plane cruises at speeds up to mach 4.5 (about 3,400 mph), or 4.5 times the speed of sound.
The turbojets would reignite to enable landing.
A spokesman, however, stated that the plane will not necessarily become a reality in the near future.
“Airbus Group and its divisions apply for hundreds of patents every year in order to protect intellectual property.
“These patents are often based on R&D concepts and ideas in a very nascent stage of conceptualisation, and not every patent progresses to becoming a fully realised technology or product,” the spokesman said.