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Boeing unveils hypersonic jet that could fly New York to London in two hours

Erica Doyle Higgins, June 28, 2018 8:04AM The Sun

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Boeing unveils its new hypersonic jet. Picture: supplied media_cameraBoeing unveils its new hypersonic jet. Picture: supplied


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Aerospace* company Boeing has unveiled a new jet that could fly from New York to London in just two hours.

The new plane, which could be flying passengers as early as 2030, is two-and-a-half times faster than the now-retired supersonic* Concorde jets. It would make it possible for people to fly between the US and the UK for a day trip. The flight takes just over six hours to fly the 5500km one way on regular passenger jets now.

The concept plane — made to show a plane still being designed — was unveiled at the American Institute of Aeronautics* and Astronautics* Aviation* 2018 conference in Atlanta, US.

It would fly at 6437kmh, which makes it a hypersonic jet. Supersonic means faster than the speed sound travels at. Hypersonic means travel at five times the speed of sound. This is also sometimes called Mach 5.

The plane would fly extremely high — almost 30km up in the sky. Concordes flew about 18km high.

Concorde To Discontinue Flights media_cameraConcorde takes off from Heathrow Airport, UK, in 2001. Picture: Getty

Boeing’s chief scientist for hypersonics Kevin Bowcutt said: “When you look at the problem of getting from Point A to Point B anywhere in the world, the question is how fast do you want to go and how fast is fast enough?”

“Supersonic isn’t really fast enough to go overseas and back in one day. For the business traveller or the military*, where time is really important, that’s an interesting point.

“Mach 5 is where you can do that. You can get across the Atlantic* in about two hours and across the Pacific* in about three hours.”


  • The Wright brothers’ 1903 flight is considered the world’s first of a heavier-than-air, powered, steered plane.
  • The world’s first passenger flight took off from St Petersburg, Russia and flew to Tampa, Florida, US, on January 1, 1914.
  • In 1935, the first Qantas flight from Australia to England took off from Brisbane, took 12 days, stopped 31 times and required a train trip between Brindisi in southern Italy to Paris, France before the last flight to London, UK.
  • The English and French jets called Concorde travelled between New York and London from 1976 to 2003 and took about 3.5 hours. It was very expensive to travel on a Concorde and pilots couldn’t fly them at top speed except over the ocean, because they were very noisy.
  • Qantas flew its first non-stop passenger flight from Australia to London in March this year. The 14,498km journey took just more than 17 hours.
Aviator Wilbur (l) with brother Orville Wright standing in front of early model aeroplane plane. historical brothers media_cameraWilbur and Orville Wright standing in front of an early aeroplane.


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  • aerospace: science to do with aeroplanes and space flight
  • supersonic: faster than sound
  • aeronautics: science of aeroplanes
  • astronautics: science of space travel
  • aviation: flying aeroplanes
  • military: relating to soldiers or armies
  • Atlantic: Atlantic Ocean, between London and New York
  • Pacific: Pacific Ocean, between Australia’s east coast and the US west coast



  1. When could these planes be taking passengers? How many years away is that?
  2. How long does a regular plane take to fly New York to London?
  3. What does hypersonic mean? What is another name for hypersonic?
  4. How many days and how many stops were there on the 1935 Qantas flight?
  5. How far was the non-stop Qantas Perth to London flight in March?

1. Do the numbers
How many kilometres per hour (kmh) faster than a regular passenger plane this will the hypersonic jet fly?

Write the number sentence that you used to work out the answer.

How many kmh faster than the Concorde jet will the hypersonic jet fly?

Write the number sentence that you used to work out the answer.

Time: Allow 10 minutes
Curriculum Links: Mathematics

2. Extension
How many kmh does a regular passenger jet travel between London and New York?

Write the number sentence that you used to work out the answer.

How many kmh does Qantas’ flight travel between Australia and London?

Write the number sentence that you used to work out the answer.

Time: Allow 15 minutes
Curriculum Links: Mathematics

After reading the article, with a partner, highlight as many wow words or ambitious pieces of vocabulary that you can find in yellow. Discuss the meanings of these words and see if you can use them orally in another sentence.

HAVE YOUR SAY:  What are some of the benefits of fast air travel? What are some of the benefits of travelling slowly and stopping along the way?
Explain your answers using full sentences.

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