The Supersonic Jet that Changes Everything
“What is real? How do you define real? If you’re talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see, then real is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.”
So said Morpheus in Andy Wachowski’s 1999 blockbuster hit The Matrix, and the character’s poignant words are highly applicable to Spike Aerospace’s latest project.
You may have already heard rumblings about a new and innovative jet looking to break down the boundaries of what we perceive to be possible. Spike Aerospace, a Boston-based aerospace engineering and design firm, is looking to create the world’s first supersonic business jet. If the early prototypes and artists’ renditions are anything to go by, the finished article is going to be quite the spectacle.
The idea for a supersonic business jet was conceived with a pragmatic and incredibly useful focus; to cut flying time by up to 50%. “Fly faster. Do more.” The pitch is simple, straightforward and speaks volumes. Everybody that flies will be familiar with the burden of sitting through a long-haul flight. Those accustomed to traveling on business will have felt the frustration of enduring a sluggish flight with an impending deadline growing closer and closer. Shaving flight times by 50% is an incredible achievement and one that everybody could benefit from.
Spike Aerospace S-512 Supersonic Jet
Labelled the Spike S-512 Supersonic Jet or simply the S-512, the aircraft is capable of transporting up to 18 passengers at a time. With a cruising speed of an unbelievable 1,100 mph, the S-512 is capable of getting from New York to London in just three hours. Assuming the company deliver on their promises, the unprecedented power of this business jet has the potential to change the landscape of aviation as we know it.
The benefits of reducing flight times by up to 50% are obvious enough, but Spike Aerospace is not content resting on its (admittedly impressive) laurels. Far from it, in fact. Many would argue that the most striking factor of the S-512 isn’t its impressive maximum velocity at all, but the industry-first windowless design.
Whether traveling economy on a low-budget flight or jet-setting in lavish first-class surroundings, there has always been one thing in common; windows. It is a part of the aircraft so common, so fundamental, that the vast majority of us would never give them a second thought. That is precisely what separates the creative geniuses at Spike Aerospace from your average Joe.
A quick look at the sleek interior design of the S-512 is all that’s required to realize this is no ordinary aircraft. Simply put, it is stunning. The miniature windows synonymous with airplane travel only afford a decent view when the passenger’s face is pressed unappealingly against it, trying desperately to take in the surroundings before it is too late. These are a thing of the past in the S-512. Instead, ultra-modern thin display screens have been embedded into the walls of the interior to give the impression of full-length windows.
Utilizing an array of cutting-edge recording equipment on the exterior of the jet, a multitude of micro-cameras are able to capture ‘live’ images of the surroundings and project them onto the flat screens so that passengers have the illusion of looking through a window. Stretching the length of the cabin, the displays combine the images captured by the cameras to create one flawless, cohesive replica of the outside world. To the naked eye, there is little or no difference between the images projected and a straightforward opaque window. It’s practical, too; the increased weight and structural support needed to install regular windows will be negated. This decreases the drag and helps the S-512 achieve the enviable cruising speed of Mach 1.6 – or the maximum speed of Mach 1.8 – which Spike Aerospace claim ordinarily “cause significant challenges in designing and constructing an aircraft fuselage.”
Imagine the sense of freedom that would come from standing aboard a supersonic jet and enjoying panoramic views of the open air all around you. Passengers will come as close as humanly possible to gliding across the clouds, almost as if they were within touching distance. Cruising at 1,100 mph, the unparalleled experience of the S-512 and its stunning views will truly be something to behold.
With such ground-breaking technology creating an aircraft like never before, it goes without saying that every detail of the interior oozes luxury. The first shots of what the inside will look like, indicate there will be a mixture of solo armchairs and two-seater sofas crafted from wood and finished with materials that leave passengers experiencing the utmost comfort. Overall, the 40-foot cabin features a minimalist design that helps place emphasis on the all-important screens. Incidentally, the external view is not the only option for travelers. Because they are digital screens that merely resemble regular windows, there is a high level of adaptability. This means that customers aboard the S-512 can use the screens for a multitude of purposes. One snapshot of the cabin demonstrates how Microsoft Office programs can be displayed on the screen, allowing for business documents to be drafted, amended and practiced on the move. For individuals who would rather switch off or want to relax before a big meeting, the screens can be also used to display TV shows and movies.
Naturally, this all comes at a significant price. With the project yet to be finalized, estimated costs are in the region of $60-80 million, making it likely that hiring the aircraft will be exceptionally costly.If all goes according to plan, the finalized product will be ready for takeoff in December 2018. What better way to spend Christmas than aboard a supersonic jet?
Picture Sources – Spike Aerospace