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Airbus granted patent for ‘ultra-rapid’ plane that travels faster than Concorde

An Air France Concorde takes off at Roissy airport, north of Paris, Tuesday, April 17, 2001. .
An Air France Concorde takes off at Roissy airport, north of Paris, Tuesday, April 17, 2001. . AP Photo/Laurent Rebours

TORONTO – Remember the days of the Concorde jet that could get you from Toronto to Paris in about three hours? Well, Airbus was granted a patent for a new engine that could cut even that amazing time in half.

If this engine is approved, the days of 8-hour-long travels from Toronto or New York to London or Paris could take a measly hour.

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Airbus was granted the patent in the United States to an “ultra-rapid air vehicle” that would travel at supersonic speeds at Mach 4 or faster and 20 kilometres higher that commercial passenger aircraft.

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And this isn’t just a fast jet. This is some fancy engineering.

According to the patent, the fuselage would contain a “gothic delta wing” with a tank of liquid or slushy hydrogen and one or more liquid oxygen tanks.

And once in the air, the jet will reach a height of 100,000 feet (today’s jets reach between 30,000 to 40,000 feet). The rocket engines then retract and the jets propel the plane to its cruising speed of 5,000 km/h (Mach 4).

U.S. Patent 9,079,661 B2 for Airbus’s proposed “ultra-rapid air vehicle.”
U.S. Patent 9,079,661 B2 for Airbus’s proposed “ultra-rapid air vehicle.” United States Patent and Trademark Office/Airbus

Trips from Paris to San Francisco would take a mere three hours.

If approved, taking off down a long runway will also be a thing of the past. While the plane will use its turbojets to travel down the runway, eventually “the air vehicle’s ascension becomes near vertical.”

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Now, this isn’t to say that Airbus will build the engine: There have been millions of patents issued for various devices over the years with a vast majority of them never seeing the light of day.

Still, imagine a day when travelling halfway around the world is shorter than your morning commute.