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How to Shorten Your Cross-Country Flight by Hours

Over the last few decades, as the world has exploded with faster technology, the commercial airliner has actually slowed down—but the pace of travel is about to hit hyperdrive


Fast Travel time from NY to LA: 3.5 hours

With Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk’s track record for groundbreaking transportation design is unmatched. Now his ambitious Hyperloop concept, a network of pneumatic electromagnetic tubes that shoot people across the earth at speeds of 760mph, looks closer to becoming a reality—and rendering high-speed rail obsolete. Musk gave the engineering plans to the public, and now SpaceX is planning to have a mile-long test track operational by next year, just to prove it works. 

The Spike S-512 Supersonic Jet

Crazy Fast Travel time from NY to LA: 1 hour, 46 minutes

Imagine a flight from New York to London that’s over before you finish reading a copy of a magazine. That’s what the makers of the Spike S-512 Supersonic Jet are promising. The 18-passenger plane will reach a max speed of Mach 1.8, or nearly 1,400mph, doubling the top speed of high-end business jets from Cessna and Gulfstream. Inside the cabin, speed-reducing windows are replaced by digital screens fed with real-time video from cameras on the fuselage.

Airbus’ Hypersonic Jet

Insanely Fast Travel time from NY to LA: 43 minutes

Nearly 50 years after the Concorde introduced the world to supersonic flight, Airbus is planning to take things hypersonic. The French manufacturer recently patented an aircraft that can cruise at Mach 4.5, or about 3,400mph. Five engines will be required to take the jet to 4.5 times the speed of sound, including a rocket that sets the aircraft on a vertical trajectory toward the edge of space, and aerodynamics that reduce the sonic boom that plagued the Concorde.