Airbus hypersonic plane patented, Paris to Tokyo in 3 hours

5 Aug 2015

Travel could one day return to speeds not seen since the days of Concorde, following the news that Airbus has won the patent for an Airbus hypersonic plane capable of travelling from Paris to Tokyo in three hours.

The concept for an Airbus hypersonic plane has been in the works since 2011 when the company filed a patent with the US Patent Office for a craft that would use not one, but three, types of powerful engine for take-off.

And now, according to The Guardian, the company has just received news that it has won approval for the concept, which could potentially make air travel four times faster than it is with conventional aircraft today.

While using conventional runways, the yet-to-be aircraft would begin take-off with the standard jet engine used by planes today, but would then initiate a powerful rocket booster to blast the plane high into the atmosphere.

At this point, the third and final stage of propulsion – the still-developing ramjet engine – would kick in to bring the delta-winged craft to a height of 30km above the Earth’s surface where it will cruise at Mach 4.5, or 4,800km/h.

To land, the jets used during take-off will be reignited once again, allowing for a much smoother landing.

However, Airbus doesn’t plan on releasing such an incredible aircraft any time soon, with a spokesperson for the company saying of its patent win: “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.”

Flaming jet image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic