Imperial College London developing ‘Bullet’ fast-jet

Image copyright Andrew Humphreys Image caption One theory is that the “bullet” plane could take off and land like a jet A team of researchers at Imperial College London has developed a new plane…

Imperial College London developing 'Bullet' fast-jet

Image copyright Andrew Humphreys Image caption One theory is that the “bullet” plane could take off and land like a jet

A team of researchers at Imperial College London has developed a new plane capable of flying at 62mph (100kmh) and without a tail.

The plane, nicknamed “Bullet”, is described as “as fast as a top-end private jet but with the luxury interior of a family commuter aircraft”.

It is expected to be able to operate in areas such as China’s busy Hainan Island.

The aim is to eventually allow regular airliners to operate alongside military aircraft.

As well as a flying speed, the Bullet has a range of just under 900 miles (1,450km) and is capable of carrying up to 3,500lbs (1,518kg) of fuel.

Image copyright Ryan Foster Image caption The team hopes the plane could ease the burden on military and airline fuel

This would allow the small jet to refuel during short journeys between major cities – almost equalling the “stopover” for many international flights.

Richard Bradley, one of the team of researchers, said: “We are targeting people who do not need a jet for convenience.

“That includes business travellers, those in search of speed and users of air travel for leisure – and military personnel.”

The team’s first target market will be leisure passengers, with the military being second.

But the longer term ambition is to make the technology available to commercial users, such as airline passengers.

Image copyright Imperial College London Image caption An artist’s impression of the jet

Currently the plane’s ability to recharge is limited to a power source which is relatively efficient – such as solar power.

Its maximum performance will depend on how much the team can implement on the airframe over the next five years.

They expect to develop the plane’s power capacity and efficiency in the short term and by 2022 will be able to demonstrate it operating on their new Kickstarter funding initiative.

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