Tuesday, June 21, 2011

FLG's Aerospace Geekiness

FLG was intrigued by this idea:
Plans are to be unveiled on Monday for a "hypersonic" jet that flies twice the speed of Concorde on biofuel made from seaweed

It's not the seaweed that's most fascinating to FLG. It's that the proposed plane will have ramjet engines. The trouble with ramjets is that they don't really work until you're already going almost Mach 1. So, somehow the plane needs to get up to that speed first, which means another set of engines. In this particular case, EADS is proposing using a set of turbofan engines, those are the normal kind, and a set of rocket engines.

Having two sets of engines, turbofans and ramjet, to get the plane up to speed and then ramjets to really accelerate to hypersonic speed? Okay, FLG can see that, but it does seem complicated and expensive to maintain.

Having three sets, including rocket engines? You're getting into Wile E. Coyote territory. Why don't they put freakin' laser beams on it?

FLG has a hard time believe this design will get anywhere near prototype, let alone actually fly passengers.

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