A team of engineers in Switzerland has come up with the “bullet” plane — a six-seater model that can actually fly. It is, like our fantasy version of a bullet, quite fast: can reach speeds up to 350 miles per hour and accelerate from a standstill to more than 1000 miles per hour in just three seconds.
That sort of speed would mean a lifetime of Earthflight, but so far, the team says it has not needed to be land- or sea-based to take off or land — at least not successfully. They have been able to fly for up to two minutes from a standstill to more than 500 feet above ground level. If they can successfully land, the speed of the plane would allow it to get to an altitude of 17 miles per hour and to take on twice as much fuel. They say they are aiming for breakthroughs in combination flight between these different modes of transportation by 2020.
In order to reach this milestone, the team has also calculated how much energy is required to travel at said speeds, and have come up with a far more sophisticated alternative to combustion engines for each of the three modes of flight. The plane has a two-stage system that generates energy using magnets — by collecting it from friction between the plane and the surface of the Earth, rather than through combustion. And the plane travels up to 33 miles per hour.