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Hypersonic X-51A WaveRider Test Flight Today

 |  |  |  |  August 14, 2012

I’ve always had a fascination with flight. My favorite aircraft is the SR-71 Blackbird. The Blackbird was a spy aircraft that ventured into enemy territory for many years with nothing but speed and altitude for defense. That aircraft held flight records and still holds many to this day despite having been retired for years.

A group of aerospace engineers is set for a test flight of an aircraft called the X-51A WaveRider today over the Pacific Ocean. This new plane is even faster than the SR-71. The goal of the test flight is to cruise at 3600 mph for 5 minutes. At Mach 6, a passenger aircraft would be able to fly from Los Angeles to New York in 46 minutes – though it probably would be quite uncomfortable for its passengers at that speed.

The WaveRider will be attached under the wing of a B-52 bomber and carried to an altitude of 50,000 feet over the Pacific Ocean near Point Mugu. The aircraft will then release and accelerate on its Mach 6 journey. The goal of the X-51A program is to perfect hypersonic flight for use by military and commercial aircraft as well as spacecraft and more.

[via Seattle Times]