US Start-Up Unveils Plans for Supersonic Commercial Jet Travel

By Paul Joseph

The race to reintroduce supersonic flights into commercial air travel is becoming more competitive by the day – and now a new US-based startup called Hermeus is the latest to launch its venture that promises to make supersonic commercial jets a reality almost 16 years after Concorde flew for the last time.

The concept revealed by the American aerospace company will be capable of hitting speeds up to Mach 5 (almost 4,000 mph) — or twice as fast as the iconic Concorde. If that becomes a reality, air travel from New York to Paris will be cut down from 7 hours to just 1.5 hours.

Hermeus says it has raised an initial round of funding led by Khosla Ventures that is being used to develop a propulsion demonstrator and other initial technologies needed for the hypersonic aircraft.

The company claims it is not only developing an aircraft that improves the aviation experience with very reduced flight times, but also has the “potential to have a great societal and economic impact,” according to Vinod Khosla, founder of Khosla Ventures.

The four co-founders of Hermeus have significant industrial experience, while the startup also has high-profile advisers including Rob Meyerson, the former president of Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture in Kent, Wash.

“We’ve set out on a journey to revolutionize the global transportation infrastructure, bringing it from the equivalent of dialup into the broadband era, by radically increasing the speed of travel over long distances.” Says co-founder and CEO AJ Piplica.

Last year Boeing HorizonX joined Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems in investing $37.3 million in British-based Reaction Engines, which is working on its own hypersonic propulsion system.

Meanwhile Boom Supersonic, another American startup, is also working on its own supersonic jet that will be capable of traveling at speeds of Mach 2.2.

By Paul Joseph