"Exciting times? Maybe. I think so. Getting there faster, safer, and more comfortable is always a good thing."
Late next year, my wife and I are going to celebrate our 45th wedding anniversary by going on a "trip of a lifetime". It will be an extended cruise in the western Pacific. The only problem is, the cruise ship leaves from Tokyo. Which means, one long, butt ugly flight from here to there before the cruise even starts. Is a long flight? Oh, yea. I have been to Japan before as well as Australia. Both air trips were brutal.
It is unfortunate it is not ten to twenty years in the future. If everything goes according to Hoyle, we will have hyper-sonic jets in service. Rather than traveling about 575 mph, you would be traveling at 3,800 miles per hour - five times the speed of sound. That would take that very long flight to Tokyo, and make it shorter than what it takes to fly to LA today.
This is a big part of the coming air revolution. We may not realize it when we fly, but every year the planes we fly in are getting more and more autonomous. Don't worry - we are still a distance from a pilot free plane. But during every flight, data is collected. For example, on a typical flight of a Boeing 787, one terabyte of data is collected, stored and analyzed. That data is used for maintenance purposes, as well as cockpit information. In short, the table is being set for the next big thing which will be here sooner than you think.
Besides these hyper-sonic airliners which can fly faster than a speeding bullet at an altitude of 90,000 feet, designers are also working on electric "air taxis". What will they look like? Big drones. However, big enough to transport someone around town. And how is that going to work in our ever more crowded skies? Who knows. To be determined.
What else is in the hopper which is being dreamed about and or planned? Hyper-sonic military jets - some which may be autonomous. Could you imagine dog fights, planes buzzing around faster than speeding bullets, with no pilot? Only AI? Talk about Star Wars! With the maturation of AI, robotics and aviation technology, our skies might look very different in 2028 than they do in 2018.
Exciting times? Maybe. I think so. Getting there faster, safer, and more comfortable is always a good thing. Will it also be cheaper? Ha! Does anything new ever get cheaper? But we will have to wait a few years to find out.