You have to give it to the bearded ballooning flop, he's ambitious. Branson's Virgin Galactic company have just unveiled a new supersonic jet capable of flying at three times the speed of sound.
Concorde, the last supersonic jet, died 17 years ago and that could get us from London to New York in three hours. This new Virgin Galactic jet will do it in two.
It's staggering to think we've gone 17 years without a commercial supersonic aeroplane and nobody's come up with a replacement yet. We're going backwards.
There are few greater miseries than travelling and it all needs to be speeded up. Planes, trains and automobiles should be aiming for double or triple their current cruising speeds. Yes, yes, you may wag your finger and mention things like safety or the environment, but that shouldn't stop us. We should use our brains to find ways to make fast transport that's safe and environmentally friendly too.
While they're at it, they should also be reconfiguring airports. Somehow we accept the idea that we have to be at an airport a ludicrous two or three hours before we actually fly. Why? You may wag another one of your fingers and mention logistics or security, but stop being so defeatist. Find a way to do it in half an hour, which should be considered the maximum wait for any transport these days.
Of course, this Virgin Galactic jet is still at the prototype stage, but the hope is that it will be able to transport up to 19 passengers at 60,000 feet. It will still have to make it into economical production, negotiate the various aviation rules and get past mountains of well-meaning but misguided health and safety regulations. So I'd say there's little chance of this jet ever operating commercially.
Even if it does, the only people who'll be able to afford tickets will be the ultra-rich, as was the case with Concorde. I doubt I'll see economical supersonic travel in my lifetime. We just don't have the cojones to pursue this sort of thing these days.
Other than Beardy Branson, that is. He offers the merest wisp of hope.