Capable of soaring above the atmosphere at 3,125 mph on biofuel made from seaweed, EADS's proposed Zero Emission Hypersonic Transportation (ZEHST) could significantly reduce air travel time. The usual eight-hour flight from New York to London would take one, less than half the time it took the old Concorde.
Whereas the the Concorde failed because of its extremely noisy takeoffs and landings, expensive tickets, outdated cockpits and high maintenance checks, the ZEHST will be "one of the world's most eco-friendly aircraft" thanks to its use of seaweed biofuel.
Packed with rocket engines for shooting the aircraft above the atmosphere, ramjet engines for Mach 4 cruising speeds and conventional jet engines to ensure "quiet" take-offs and landings, the ZEHST should be ready in...*wait for it*...40 years.
Here's a blueprint for the ZEHST:
Sure, it all sounds good on paper, but will anybody ever get to step aboard this 100-passenger aircraft?
According to David Kaminski-Morrow, air transport editor at Flight International:
"It is still very much a concept vehicle, but it is within capability, the technology is available. The real difficulty is the economics of making a completely new type of aircraft work. It will take billions to take it off the drawing board and into the skies.
Morrow's right. As cool as a spiritual successor to the Concorde is, the costs to maintain the hypersonic jets and operate them will inevitably lead to their doom. Who's really in a rush to pay nearly 10 grand to see the Royal Family in one hour, anyway? Not I.