The recent award to Airbus of a patent for a hypersonic jet has revived discussion about the feasibility of and interest in a Mach 5+ aircraft that could take passengers from Paris to Tokyo in 3 hr. Several articles about it have appeared in this magazine, highlighting the underlying technical and operational challenges. Of particular concern are the economics and environmental impact of flying such an aircraft.  Regardless of these challenges, the aerospace community seems to agree ...

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