The 7 Coolest Things You'll See At The Paris Airshow


Photo: Hypermach

The 49th annual Paris Air Show is in full swing this week as industry executives, flight aficionados, and buyers gather to see what’s new in aviation.Though it’s the oldest aviation event of its kind in the world, the 2011 Paris show is packed with innovations.

The most impressive displays this year focused on sustainability and speed.

Two companies unveiled proposals for rocket-engine jets that promise to zip passengers around the world at more than 3,000 miles per hour.

On a more practical note, Boeing flew its 747 across the Atlantic and arrived to sell 15 of its modified biofuel planes to an undisclosed buyer.

The show runs through June 26.

Eurocopter X3

What is it: A five blade, fixed wing aircraft that delivers the best of two types of flight.

Why it's cool: Has vertical takeoff and landing capabilities of a helicopter along with quick cruising speeds and manoeuvrability of a plane. The craft will hit speeds of almost 170 mph and can be outfitted with a Stand Alone Weapon System for battle.

When: First public flight at the Paris Air Show 2011.

ZEHST: The heir to the Concorde

What is it: A hypersonic jet dubbed ZEHST for Zero Emission Hypersonic Transport.

Why it's cool: Through an emission-free blend of seaweed biofuel, hydrogen and oxygen the ZEHST will reach speeds of 3,125 mph (Mach 4) and cut a flight from New York to London down to about an hour.

When: 2050.

Boeing 747-8 Progress

What is it: A Boeing 747 with modified GE GEnx-2B engines.

Why it's cool: The first commercial jetliner to cross the Atlantic Ocean using biologically derived fuel: 15% camelina-based biomix with 85% kerosene. Boeing took an order for 15 at this years show.

When: Flew to the Paris Air Show 2011.

MBDA's Perseus Smart Missile

What is it: A three-in-one ramjet missile capable of flying at greater than Mach 2.

Why it's cool: The missile will have the ability to skim across the waves or drop straight down from high altitude and release two smaller missiles to ensure a ship target would be crippled. Bonus: If the missile notes a transponder signal from an ally ship it self-destructs.

When: 15 to 20 years.

Hypermach's SonicStar SSBJ

What is it: A supersonic business jet.

Why it's cool: The hybrid engines will push the SonicStar to Mach 3.5 while using electromagnetic drag reduction to soften sonic booms. While it seats only 20, it will cut the flight time from New York to Paris down to about two hours and New York to Sydney in five.

When: June 2021.

Hyperspectral sensors for U.S. drones

What is it: A sensor that distinguishes between natural topography and camouflage.

Why it's cool: The sensor picks up spectral signatures of any material -- even those invisible to the human eye -- like plots of earth recently repacked to conceal roadside bombs.

When: June 2011.

Honeywell Green Jet Fuel powering a Gulfstream 450

What is it: A jet that flies on a 50/50 biofuel blend of camelina, jatropha plants, algae, and traditional fuel.

Why it's cool: Half the tank of fuel is made up of plants. During the seven-hour transatlantic flight the Green Jet Fuel saved about 5.5 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions compared to the same flight by a petroleum-fuel based Gulfstream..

When: June 2011.

While the aircraft of tomorrow have their appeal today's aircraft have plenty going for them

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