So, you think the Concorde was fast? It flew double the speed of sound at Mach 2.04, impressive until the theoretical Skreemr came along. According to the concept by Charles Bombardier and Ray Mattison, their plane would be able to reach a speed of Mach 10. That’s ten times the speed of sound – around 7,673 mph!
Bombardier and Mattison’s plan requires a launch using a magnetic railgun, which would accelerate the plane to Mach 4 before it even lifts off. Once it reached Mach 4, it would utilize liquid oxygen rockets to gain altitude and increase speed to the point that it could activate a scramjet, which would boost it to Mach 10. A scramjet is a type of engine that uses the supersonic speed of the plane to compress incoming air for engine combustion.
But before we get too excited about what is still very much a concept, there are some problems to figure out. For one, it’ll be difficult to find an affordable material that can withstand the heat of such insane acceleration. And then there’s that pesky issue of passengers passing out due to the g-forces sustained during that acceleration. Plus, breaking the sound barrier creates the issue of the sonic boom – something the Concorde was never really able to address. How would the Skreemr be able to take off near any major city if there’s a deafening boom every time it takes off?
There’s quite a few kinks to work out before anybody is regularly commuting between London and NYC in half an hour. But despite only being theoretical at this point, it’s exciting to think about a not-so-far away future in which getting to England takes less time than your morning commute.