Fast, clean and silent
Moving to a lower altitude, ZEHST will soar through the stratosphere at a speed beyond Mach 4. “We are following the ACARE and ‘FlightPath 2050’ targets [reduction of CO2 emissions by 75%, NOx by 90%, compared to 2000 levels]. The plane’s trajectory is very specific in order to minimise the sonic boom during climbing and descent, and by flying at approximately 30 kilometres there will be no further acoustic impact at ground level,” says Guy.
While the aircraft will travel more than four times the speed of sound, EADS has taken a cautious approach for its route map. ZEHST is a technology platform for all the design teams and engineers to develop new ideas and test them. A small demonstrator, to perform flight tests, is intended to be completed by 2020, while the Group expects an operational vehicle to be ready by 2050.
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Passengers will have a comfortable in-flight experience without requiring any special equipment or training. For a short period of time during the steep rocket engine-powered climb and acceleration, ZEHST passengers would feel mild acceleration forces, not exceeding 1.2g.