Next From Musk: VTOL Supersonic Jet?

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Billionaire Elon Musk, known for his successful private ventures into space and the Tesla electric roadster, said recently he'd like to develop a supersonic jet capable of vertical takeoffs and landings and powered by electricity. Musk said in an online chat that he's been thinking about the jet idea for "about four years." He said when the Concorde fleet was retired, he felt it "seemed so sad that the world's only supersonic passenger aircraft would never fly again and there was nothing planned to replace it." He also mentioned the jet idea during an online video chat several weeks ago, saying that he'd like to see "somebody" develop such an aircraft, adding, "If somebody doesn't do that, maybe at some point in the future, I will."

He said he's busy right now, but the next company he would like to start would be to develop that aircraft. "I think that's sort of the ultimate form of transport," he said. It would have environmental benefits, he said, being quiet; it would be very fast, and it could fly high enough to minimize the impact of the sonic boom. The VTOL capability would make it possible to land much closer to the places where people want to go, he said. In a blog post on his Tesla website, Musk added that "a quiet supersonic plane immediately solves every long distance city pair without the need for a vast new worldwide infrastructure."