Dubbed the ‘son of Concorde’ due to design similarities to the retired aircraft, Airbus revealed yesterday (August 4) that the patent was approved by the US Patent and Trademark Office in July.
Described in the documents as "an air vehicle including a fuselage, a gothic delta wing distributed on either side of the fuselage, and a system of motors able to propel the air vehicle,” Airbus said the aircraft would be suitable for “business travel and VIP passengers, who require transcontinental return journeys within one day.”
Reading this has got your correspondent rather excited. Having travelled the same route for eight hours on an A330 earlier this year, the idea of repeating this in an aircraft capable of speeds of up 2,500mph – four and a half times the speed of sound – is an appealing one.
Having never been fortunate enough to fly on Concorde, the thought of travelling faster than sound was always an appealing one.
And while certainly not beyond the realms of possibility, there are stumbling blocks in the way of Airbus potentially turning this from futuristic oddity drawn on a piece of paper into a genuine reality.
Airbus states the issue of supersonic aircraft producing sonic booms when breaking through the sound barrier could be a problem. High noise levels led to the Concorde being banned from flying at high speed over some countries during its heyday, but Airbus said there are methods for reducing this to a degree.
While the design looks very exciting, it is also worth noting that the patent is just one of many thousands filed by Airbus in recent years, with the OEM averaging around 600 a year.
Much like its ‘flying doughnut’ aircraft, which the OEM patented in November last year, the prospect of seeing the son of Concorde take to the skies in the near to mid-term future could be remote.
But given the development of other supersonic aircraft such as Lockheed Martin’s N+2, in which the OEM worked with NASA on ways to reduce noise levels, there are certainly reasons for long-term optimism that we will one day see supersonic passenger aircraft become staples of the sky.