Harder Better Faster? Cheaper

We could be flying a bit faster today. Early in 2001 Boeing announced plans for an airplane it called the Sonic Cruiser. The airplane was partly a way for Boeing to win back some attention from the then-recently announced super jumbo Airbus A380. The idea was to cut 20 percent off the time of your flight across the country. It wasn’t quite supersonic, but at Mach 0.98 it could fly faster than most of the other airliners, without all of the physics problems that require extra power, and cost.

If we have the ability to fly faster and cut down on travel time, why aren’t we doing it? According to Jason Paur, who covers aerospace for Wired and Medium, it’s because passengers aren’t interested in paying more to fly faster — they’re interested in whatever we can do to fly cheaper.

Photo: Karen Dalziel

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