Imagine an ultra fast plane that could get from London to New York in just eleven minutes – that is what the Antipode, designed by Charles Bombardier, will be able to do if it is ever built. The luxury business jet is twelve times faster than Concorde.
If they gave you a cup of tea or coffee just after take off, you would hardly have the time to finish it before you reached your destination.
The Antipode (the word means ‘the direct opposite of something else’) can reach an incredible speed of Mach 24 – twenty four times the speed of sound – or up to 20,000 kilometres (12,430 miles) in less than one hour. A New York to Sydney flight – 9,930 miles – would take just 32 minutes, which is about the time a train takes from Sevenoaks to Charing Cross in central London.
Imagine flying from London to New York in the time it took you to drink a cup of coffee.
Canadian engineer, inventor and angel investor Charles Bombardier designed the Antipode with Lunatic Koncepts founder Abhishek Roy.
The jet, which uses rocket boosters, can carry up to ten passengers.
In an interview with Forbes, Mr. Bombardier said:
“I was contacted by [Wyle engineer and former Department of Defense RIAC director] Joseph Hazeltine, who proposed using a novel aerodynamic phenomenon called ‘long penetration mode (LPM).’ I wanted to create an aircraft concept capable of reaching its antipode—or diametrical opposite – as fast as possible.”
First the Skreemr then Antipode
Mr. Bombardier had previously invented the Skreemr – a supersonic airplane designed to transport passengers between continents at ten times the speed of sound (Mach 10).
The Skreemr concept attracted a great deal of attention and enthusiasm. Mr. Bombardier had wanted the aircraft to be catapulted into the sky at high speed with a magnetic railgun system.
However, it had some serious problems that could not be overcome. There was nothing that could be done to mitigate the aircraft’s super-loud sonic boom. Its nose and wings would accumulated a dangerous amount of heat when accelerating to Mach 10.
If it does get built, this plane would be able to fly from London to New York several times each day. Would that help keep the ticket price down? (Image Credit: Charles Bombardier)
In a previous interview with Forbes, Mr. Bombardier confessed:
“I am not sure the materials able to withstand the heat, pressure, and structural stress for this application have been invented yet.”
Antipode does not have Skreemr’s shortcomings
With the Antipode, the Montreal-based inventor drafted a completely new hypersonic concept. Unlike the Skreemr, which relied on a magnetic railgun system, the Antipode, thanks to the rocket boosters attached to its wings, can take off from any airfield.
It has accelerators that take it up to 40,000 feet, where it is flying at Mach 5 – they then separate from the aircraft and fly back to base.
The Skreemr would have flown five times faster than Concorde and would have carried 75 passengers. A magnetic railgun would have used clean electricity to launch the aircraft into the sky. (Image: imaginactive.org. Credit: Charles Bombardier)
As soon as the accelerators separate, the airplane’s onboard computer ignites its supersonic combustion ramjet engine and it accelerates to Mach 24, Mr. Bombardier explained.
Some of the air flows at supersonic speed through a nozzle on its nose, which produces a countreflowing jet of air that induces long penetration mode (LPM), which leads to a reduction in surface temperature. The nozzle also helps reduce the volume of the sonic boom considerably.
Put simply, he found a way to stop the airplane from making a super-loud sonic boom when it breaks the sound barrier, and the nose does not get too hot.
Linear nozzles on the wings also have the effect of preventing them from getting too hot, he added.
Charles Bombardier is a Canadian engineer, inventor and angel investor. He worked for his famly’s vehicle design and manufacturing firm. He creates his own vehicle designs and publishes them online at imaginactive.org. Many of his designs are republished by blogs and newspapers. (Image: Wikipedia)
Antipode will still require special materials
Despite the addition of nozzles to the nose and wings, the airplane, if it is to be built, will need heat- and pressure-proof materials. “LPM could help reduce heat, but it would not eliminate all of it – even if it’s working in perfect flight conditions,” he said.
The aircraft can take off and land on a runway 6,000 feet long. It has emergency compact rocket boosters that could be used to slow it down or attempt a second landing.
Mr. Bombardier claims that producing the Antipode would be considerably cheaper than making the Skreemr, because it is a smaller aircraft and uses existing technology.
The price tag would definitely be higher than for any business jet that is currently on the market, he added.
Video – The Skreemr does London to New York in 30 minutes
The Skreemr, Antipode’s predecessor, would have flown from London to New York in 30 minutes.