To the envy of weary plane travelers everywhere, passengers aboard a Norwegian Airlines flight from New York to London on January 15 were greeted with a pleasant surprise: they arrived 53 minutes earlier than expected. planned, becoming the fastest transatlantic flight ever recorded in a commercial subsonic aircraft. Final flight time: 5 hours and 13 minutes.
The good moment was thanks to better than expected weather conditions and a strong tailwind, which helped the flight to gain three minutes over the previous record sustained by a British Airways Route 2015 that spanned 5 hours and 16 minutes. Still, the Norwegian flight captain said an even faster time could be at stake.
"We were in the air for just over five hours and had it not been for the turbulence predicted at a lower altitude, we could have flown even faster," Captain Harold van Dam said in Norwegian in a statement.
Of course, this time is nothing compared to what was possible in the Concorde, the supersonic aircraft that could cross the Atlantic in a vigorous 3.5 hours and ceased its operation in 2003. The supersonic air travel, although faster, it is quite controversial: it can create unpleasant disturbances at ground level like broken windows, cracked plaster and very confused farm animals. For this reason, supersonic travel has been banned mostly since 1973.
But there is still hope for those desperate to save more time from their route from New York to London: NASA announced last summer that it would accept offers to 1945. construction of a demonstration model of a supersonic airplane with a low level sonic boom.
Peter Coen, project manager of NASA's commercial supersonic research team, told Bloomberg that growth in air travel and distance flown "will boost demand for wide availability." faster air travel, "making it possible for companies to offer competitive products in the future".
NASA points to a sound level of 60 to 65 weighted decibels A (dBa), which is roughly the volume of a road or a background conversation in a lively restaurant.
On the other hand, why settle for a supersonic trip when you can have a hypersonic trip? The SpaceX Air proposed by Elon Musk would fly ostensibly through space at 17,000 miles per hour, potentially landing a New Yorker in Shanghai on a 39-minute floor. In September, Musk said the flight should not cost more than the current price of a full-rate economy seat on a traditional plane, which at that time was $ 2,908 from China Eastern Airlines. There are still many technical, logistical and commercial questions in the air (sorry) about whether it would really be a viable option for the average traveler.
Meanwhile, if you are looking to accelerate your next trip to the other side of the pond, your best option is to pray for a twisted tail wind.