'Fly faster, do more' – that's the new mantra for supersonic travel, and if US-based Spike Aerospace has its way business travellers could once again be jet-setting faster than the speed of sound as early as 2018.
But unlike the famous Concorde supersonic cruiser grounded in 2003, the ambitious Spike S-512 is a private business jet designed for between 12 and 18 passengers, with a price tag of US$80m (A$91m) per jet.
Spike says the S-512 could dart between New York and London in a little over three hours, reaching speeds of Mach 1.6-1.8 (1700-1900 km/h). That's almost twice as fast as conventional jets, which typically fly at Mach 0.85 (around 900 km/h).
The Spike S-512 has certainly got those sleek 21st century looks although they bely its size: a compact 40 metres (131 feet) long, with the wings stretched out to 18 metres (60 feet). The current specs peg a maximum range of 4,000 nautical miles (7,400 km).
But Spike may find the supersonic bans imposed by various world aviation bodies harder to beat than the sound barrier itself.
Unless Spike can get approval from the relevant authorities at both ends of the US-UK route, for starters, hopes for a post-Concorde renaissance of faster-than-sound travel might go out with a whimper instead of a supersonic boom.
While you're waiting for the Spike S-512 to get the green light, and saving up your millions in the meantime, here's a video from Spike to spruik their supersonic private jet.
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