Imagine reducing the travel time between Los Angeles and Sydney from 15 hours to just 3 hours. It sounds like science fiction, but Charles Bombardier, the grandson of the aviation giant Bombardier, believes this could become a reality in the foreseeable future. Charles Bombardier, a mechanical engineer, leads a nonprofit organization named Imaginactive, which has developed numerous ambitious and world-changing concepts. One of these is the Paradoxal hypersonic jet, designed to travel at an astonishing Mach 24, nearly 16,000 mph.

At this incredible speed, the Paradoxal could fly from JFK to Heathrow, London—a distance of 3,450 miles—in just 11 minutes. The jet’s designer, Juan Garcia Mansilla, collaborated with scientists and engineers, including professionals from NASA, to develop this concept. The Paradoxal resembles a futuristic version of the B2 stealth bomber and the peregrine falcon, the world’s fastest bird during its dive to catch prey.

Unlike traditional commercial passenger jets with long wings and tube-like fuselages, the Paradoxal features a flat fuselage with integrated delta wings. While the exact dimensions and cabin details remain undisclosed, it is believed that the Paradoxal will be a small jet with limited passenger capacity, potentially serving as an ultra-fast business jet.

The Paradoxal is powered by a dual-engine system called the R4E, which enables a two-stage journey. The twin Rim-Rotor Rotary Ramjet engines promise to “improve power density and reduce complexity compared to conventional gas turbines.” In the first stage, the aircraft can accelerate to Mach 3.0 and climb to 60,000 feet using air-breathing engines. In the second stage, liquid oxygen is introduced into the propulsion system, transforming it into a rocket engine that propels the jet to Mach 5 and beyond, reaching the edge of space. This sub-orbital parabolic trajectory offers a unique experience to its passengers.

The Paradoxal hypersonic aircraft incorporates NASA’s Long Penetration Mode (LPM), which involves injecting compressed air along the leading edge of the aircraft to cool its surfaces. Additionally, retractable fins help mitigate the tremendous heat and friction generated at Mach 24. For comparison, the Concorde had a maximum cruising speed of Mach 2.04 (1,350 mph), and the hypersonic military jet featured in Top Gun: Maverick reached a top speed of Mach 10+.

“I think the technology can be developed rapidly, in less than 50 years,” says Bombardier. “The true questions become whether anyone is willing to invest capital in such a program—and do we really need to go that fast?”

The Paradoxal hypersonic jet concept is an exciting glimpse into the future of air travel, promising to revolutionize long-distance journeys and push the boundaries of aviation technology.

By Impact Lab