Air France Concorde
Concorde awaits my arrival in New York for my trip on Air France flight 1 to Paris on Sunday, May 25, 2003. To say that the 160,000 Delta Air Lines SkyMiles which I used to be a passenger on this aircraft was a great use of those miles would be an incredible understatement. Photograph ©2003 by Brian Cohen.

New York to Beijing in Two Hours?!? New York to London in 26 Days?!?

or quite some time, I have mentioned that some sort of disruptive technology may be necessary in order to increase competition with commercial airlines — most of which are either monopolies or a part of oligopolies within the markets and geographic locations they serve.

I reported on two technologies which sounded promising — both of which purported that passengers who used their respective technologies would be able to travel between New York and Beijing in approximately two hours — when I was writing articles for What’s Your Point?, which resided at First2Board but is now defunct.

Yes, they sounded promising — but there are no recent updates on either the evacuated tube transport system or the advent of sub-orbital flights. Regarding the timeline of the evacuated tube transport system, I find it funny that there was supposed to be a demonstration tube of three miles at 375 miles per hour at a cost of $10,000,000.00 to be recovered in a year as an amusement ride costing $25.00 per ride – which was supposed to have been in place by this coming June.

I have re-posted both articles after the end of this article pertaining to traveling between New York and Beijing in two hours if you are interested in reading about them…

Supersonic Flights to Return? Perhaps — But…

It appears that supersonic technology might have a better chance of returning to the skies.

Aerion Supersonic partnered with Airbus Group in an agreement to collaborate on technologies to advance the development and commercialization of the Aerion AS2 — to become the first supersonic business jet in the world — for the possibility of high-performance supersonic flights in the future.

“This is a major step forward for Aerion,” said Robert M. Bass, who is the chairman and principal investor of Aerion Supersonic. “It puts us solidly on track toward our objective of certifying the world’s first supersonic business jet in 2021. Needless to say, we are thrilled with the resources Airbus Group will bring to the program.”

In return for the defence and space division of Airbus Group to provide technical and certification support, Aerion Supersonic will provide proprietary technology and assistance to Airbus Group in its high-performance aircraft technology development.

At first glance, the Aerion AS2 resembles Concorde, whose operations ceased in 2003; but it will be used as a business jet rather than for commercial air travel. However — at 1,217 miles per hour — it is slightly slower than Concorde, which was capable of traveling at 1,350 miles per hour…

…but if you want to purchase this airplane, you might want to look under your couch for some extra loose change which would hopefully add up to approximately $100 million, as flights could start in as soon as six years.

Part Two: Supersonic Flights to Return? Perhaps — But…

Not to be outdone by Aerion Supersonic, Lockheed Martin is currently working with NASA — the National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the United States — on a design for a supersonic aircraft which could carry a maximum of 80 passengers called the N+2. It will supposedly be capable of cruising at Mach 1.7, which is 1.7 times the speed of sound.

If you are hoping to be a passenger on the N+2 anytime soon, that is not going to happen — unless you consider 2025 soon; and that is ten years from today.

A Superhighway Between New York and London Across Russia?

…but this article caught my attention which discusses a different travel opportunity that is equally possible but not probably: imagine the greatest superhighway in the world where you can travel from New York westward to London via crossing the narrow stretch of the Bering Strait between Alaska and Russia either by bridge, tunnel or ferry?

Well, if Vladimir Yakunin — the president of Russian Railways — has it his way, his proposed plan for a massive trans-Siberian highway that would link his the eastern border of Russia with the city of Nome in western Alaska in the United States would become a reality.

If you were able to travel a minimum of 500 miles per day by car on this proposed highway, then it should only take you as little as 26 days — or almost a month — to drive the 20,777 kilometers or 12,910 miles between New York and London.

That would be the ultimate road trip to end all road trips; but keep in mind that there would be a lot of desolate stretches of highway along the way — such as in Siberia, for example. You will certainly not find a McDonald’s restaurant or a fuel station every five to ten miles along that stretch of hundreds of miles…

…and 520 miles of desolate Alaskan terrain separates Nome from the closest major city and road network in Fairbanks — and there is no road which connects Nome to other parts of Alaska.

The Trans-Eurasian Belt Development would be a major roadway to be constructed at a cost of “trillions of dollars” alongside the existing Trans-Siberian Railway; along with a new train network and oil and gas pipelines. Sure, this project could potentially create many new jobs and even entire industries — but who is going to pay for it?

I can only imagine the total cost of tolls necessary to travel on this highway. You do not believe that this massive project would be toll-free once completed and ready for use, do you?!?

Although not many people have a minimum of 26 days to drive across North America, Asia and Europe, the thought of doing so by car is intriguing. However, you would probably have to drive your own vehicle, as I cannot imagine a rental car company would allow you to drive one of their cars across the borders of every country along the way freely.

Imagine how much one-way rentals of cars would cost from New York to London or vice versa. Yow!

Right now, all you can do is imagine anything that has to do with this highway, as no target date of completion has been reported — let alone having the project start in the first place.

Electric Commercial Passenger Airplanes by 2044?

There is the possibility that we could see aircraft powered by electricity as soon as the year 2044.

A regional aircraft containing 90 passenger seats operated with either fully electric or hybrid propulsion can possibly be a reality sooner.

The ultimate goal is to meet the Flightpath 2050 vision and targets for aircraft by the European Commission, which includes a reduction in aircraft carbon dioxide emissions by 75 percent from the year 2000 baseline. Electric commercial passenger airplanes can certainly be a part of that vision.

More details and technical specifications are found in this press release from Airbus Group.

Aircraft Powered by Solar Energy to Circumnavigate the World This Year?

Solar energy could one day power commercial airplanes which can operate quietly through the night, pointing out the possibility of an aircraft powered by solar energy to circumnavigate the world sometime this year.

Through a project created in Switzerland called Solar Impulse, its aircraft crossed the United States back in 2013 in segments; and now the team behind the project claimed that the goal is for the Solar Impulse 2 aircraft to become the first airplane ever to circumnavigate the globe using only the power of the sun to drive its four electric propellers.

The flight around the world will not be a non-stop flight, however, as the flight path will originate in Abu Dhabi to its first destination of Muscat in Oman; and then across the Arabian Sea to Ahmedabad and Varanasi in India; to Mandalay in Myanmar; to Chongqing and Nanjing in China; then across the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii; then to Phoenix and New York before crossing the Atlantic Ocean with a possible stop somewhere in southern Europe or north Africa before landing at its originating point back in Abu Dhabi.

As of yesterday, March 30, 2015, the aircraft was in Chongqing.

New York to Beijing in Two Hours?!?

The technology know as a evacuated tube transport system purportedly being developed at ET3 may be the closest yet to answering the dreams of a “mileage runner” — and yet may also sound too good to be true.

Imagine a form of transportation capable of transporting you from New York to Los Angeles in only 45 minutes or New York to Beijing in only two hours which:

  • Runs continuously — meaning that you can travel virtually whenever you want without stops or delays
  • Is silent and supposedly safe
  • Uses as little as one percent of the energy currently used by air travel at a given speed
  • Travels at speeds from 350 miles per hour locally to 4,000 miles per hour internationally
  • Virtually eliminates all chances of collision
  • Will be minimally affected by obstacles and inclement weather conditions – if at all
  • Sustainable with renewable energy which is generated upon the vehicle — or capsule — slowing down
  • Requires only one-twentieth of the material to build because of the light weight of the vehicles
  • Can exceed the capacity of a freeway 32 lanes wide
  • Has more room per passenger than airplanes and luxury automobiles
  • Could be built for one tenth of the cost of high speed rail or one quarter of the cost of a freeway
  • Due to what are expected to be extraordinarily low costs to operate the evacuated tube transport system — perhaps less than one cent per mile per passenger — the fare passengers would expect to pay could be very low, or subsidized by advertising, or passengers could even be paid to use the evacuated tube transport system by advertisers, similar to subsidized television or Internet access


…and this could supposedly all be available within a decade. In fact, here is the current timeline of goals for the implementation of the evacuated tube transport system:

  • Two years A demonstration tube of three miles at 375 miles per hour at a cost of $10,000,000.00 to be recovered in a year as an amusement ride costing $25.00 per ride
  • Five years A system of 300 miles connecting major cities, with a return on investment greater than 30 percent for 10,000,000 passengers per year at ten cents per mile
  • Ten years National networks are to be implemented in most major countries — if all networks are built to a uniform standard and can be interconnected
  • Twenty years The global ET3 evacuated tube transport system network would displace up to 90 percent of global transportation — presently at $8.65 trillion per year


It is a potential dream for “mileage runners” because — assuming you can earn frequent travel loyalty program miles — you may be able to travel between North America and Asia at least 20 times over a weekend.

Then again, I am sure that the award travel and earning of elite status would be tweaked to compensate for the technology, costing several hundred thousand frequent travel loyalty program miles for one single trip — but there are those who say that some airlines charge that today with their “broken” award calendars.

This could seriously throw a wrench into travel. Think about it: no more turbulence or circling airports, waiting to land…

…but then again, there would be virtually no need for such amenities as meal service or lie-flat beds — and when combining the evolution of portable electronic devices with the significantly shorter travel time, no need for a full-blown in-flight entertainment system as there would be barely enough time to watch a movie.

Ideally, this technology — which is travel in tubes based on frictionless magnetic levitation within a vacuum — will also help to significantly reduce the amount of vehicles used as well.

It sounds great, right? It does — but then there are the disadvantages:

  • As with train travel which requires the use of tracks, this particular frictionless magnetic levitation technology requires the use of tubes — limiting the travel by where the tubes would exist — but then again, airplanes must usually follow specific routes as well
  • A blockage in a vacuum tube can potentially cause delays
  • At an initial cost of two million dollars per mile, the building of the tubes can potentially be expensive — especially through deep water — where remote islands such as Hawai’i may not likely be served by this form of transportation
  • The tubes must be aligned precisely for the most efficiency regarding high-speed travel
  • Events such as earthquakes can potentially significantly disrupt the evacuated tube transport system
  • The maximum passenger weight per capsule is limited to approximately 800 pounds or 365 kilograms; whereas the maximum cargo weight per capsule is limited to approximately 900 pounds or 410 kilograms
  • The usefulness of this technology limits it to travel of distances of a minimum of approximately six miles of ten kilometers, meaning that more traditional modes of transportation will still be needed for local travel — electric cars come to mind
  • Similarly to automobiles, there will be no toilet facilities on board the capsules — although alternatives are being considered for when the urge strikes and you “gotta go”
  • Turning capabilities might be limited — especially due to the high speeds expected of the evacuated tube transport system technology
  • Unlike airplanes or slower forms of technology, it seems that there will be no windows — and even if there were, the capsules will travel far too fast to even admire any views


The vacuum tubes are expected to be both above and below ground, depending on terrain. The Bering Strait might actually one day be bridged by tubes of the evacuated tube transport system, as that is the most ideal location to bridge the eastern and western hemispheres.

Here is a video by ET3 which demonstrates how the evacuated tube transport system would work:

My point is that the evacuated tube transport system seems like some science fiction figment of one’s imagination. However, I surely would like to see something similar to the evacuated tube transport system developed as soon as possible — especially if it means significantly faster transportation as a lower cost to passengers with less of a disruption to the ecology of our planet — as from what I can see, the advantages seem to outweigh the disadvantages of the evacuated tube transport system.

What’s Your Point? What are your thoughts on a transportation system such as the evacuated tube transport system — and how do you believe it will impact the future if and when it is actually built?

Note: This article was originally posted on Saturday, June 8, 2013 by Brian Cohen at What’s Your Point?

New York to Beijing in Two Hours, Part Two: Sub-Orbital Flights by 2020?!?

The technology know as an evacuated tube transport system purportedly being developed may not be the closest yet to answering the dreams of a “mileage runner” after all, as I first reported back on June 8, 2013 in an article about how you could possibly travel from New York to Beijing in two hours someday in the future.

Apparently you may possibly be able to do it as soon as the year 2020, as that is supposedly when sub-orbital commuter flights traveling at approximately 4,000 miles per hour will be ready and available for use by the public to perhaps have breakfast in London and lunch in Sydney during the same day, according to a consulting firm in the United Kingdom known as Knight Frank.

When Concorde was first placed in service, you had to be quite wealthy to fly on it as a passenger. Ticket prices were reportedly £431.00 back in 1976 — approximately five times the cost of a flight on the same route operated by a Boeing 747…

Concorde awaits my arrival in New York for my trip on Air France flight 1 to Paris on May 25, 2003. To say that the 160,000 Delta Air Lines SkyMiles which I used to be a passenger on this aircraft was a great use of those miles would be an incredible understatement. Photograph ©2003 by Brian Cohen.
Concorde awaits my arrival in New York for my trip on Air France flight 1 to Paris on May 25, 2003. To say that the 160,000 Delta Air Lines SkyMiles which I used to be a passenger on this aircraft was a great use of those miles would be an incredible understatement. Photograph ©2003 by Brian Cohen.

…but passengers — including yours truly — were able to use frequent flier loyalty program miles to pay to fly as a passenger on Concorde. 160,000 Delta Air Lines SkyMiles for a round-trip flight on Air France Concorde was an incredible deal — certainly one of the best redemptions of frequent flier loyalty program miles I have ever experienced.

By contrast, the cost of sub-orbital commuter flights could be as expensive as $250,000.00. I do not know about you, but I will have to wait until either the ticket price becomes less expensive; I become super wealthy; or I save up an airplane full of frequent flier loyalty program miles — that is, if they can indeed be redeemed for sub-orbital commuter flights someday.

Commercial jet aircraft presently travel at approximately 500 miles per hour.

My point is that while there are still issues with sub-orbital commuter flights actually becoming a reality — such as the expected aforementioned expense for a ticket; as well as ensuring that the proper infrastructure is in place to successfully support such flights — the possibility of being able to be a passenger on a supersonic flight once again in the future is rather exciting.

What’s Your Point? Do you believe that sub-orbital commuter flights could render the memories of Concorde obsolete? How much would you be willing to pay to be a passenger on a sub-orbital commuter flight?

Note: This article was originally posted on Sunday, July 13, 2013 by Brian Cohen at What’s Your Point?

Are there any new developments in technology that have been brought to your attention which you believe have promise but have not been mentioned in this article? Is there a technology which you wish could be used for transportation around the world? If so, please post information about them in the Comments section below.

Although the information in this article is legitimate and not fabricated, happy April Fool’s Day anyway.

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