Due to our ability to move in a relatively short number of years to solve gigantic problems, I am more optimistic about our future, believing that our future is much brighter than our present. Every time we encounter a problem and we lose hope in solving it, we need to remember what the history of the problem is and how creative human minds solved it in the past. History and the future move us in the right direction to continue being creative, breaking barriers all of the time. To get some perspective and to look at new advances, let us examine the history of flight and mix it with the future of flying.
When Orville Wright flew his airplane on December 17, 1903 in North Carolina, he and his brother took a technological leap in aviation. The 12 seconds of flight covering 120 feet achieved by the Wright brothers for the first time in history came after seven years of nonstop failing. Since then, aviation research has grown exponentially, helping us to land on the moon after 66 years in July 1969. At that time with focused determination by the United States, Apollo 11 manned by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin reached the moon on July 21.
Currently, we are witnessing advances in industrial technologies like self-driving cars and and flying drones. The human benefit of this will be tremendous. The most amazing technology which might change our life more than any other technologies is the ability to fly faster than today’s speed. Since the development of the first plane to the design of the jet engine, as well as the development of Stealth aircraft (the B-2 Spirit, the F-22 Raptor, and F-35 Lighting II ß) which can not be discovered by radar, the breakthroughs in flying seem to be motivated by military interest at first and then transferred to civilian use at the end. Well, the human mind is doing it again in the US.
Be prepared for the X-51 WaveRider plane which will be ready in 2023. If you want to fly five times the speed of sound, the WaveRider might be your plane. This futuristic plane can travel 4,000 miles per hour which was tested successfully for the first time for six minutes on May 26, 2010. This marvelous achievement is the result of collaborative hard work among four players: the US Air Force, DARPA, NASA, and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Company. Currently, the technology is moving ahead to the production stage. At this kind of speed, you can travel from New York City to London in one hour or from London to Tokyo in two hours.
Current engines cannot go faster than three time of the speed of sound becasue they get hot. This X-51 WaveRider can use the air from outside the aircraft to flow through the engine supersonically and mix with jet fuel. Combine this with the right time to ignite the engine, you create supersonic propulsion. If this technology succeeds, the plane will be twice as fast as the SR-71 Blackbird, with a record flying time. The future military use of this kind of plane can be applied to take any kind of target without even being detected by any current advanced radar system. Finally, the beauty of the engineering of this engine design is that there are no moving parts. Mechanical engineers love this part.
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