Aeroplanes of the future: solar-powered and in formation.
Aeroplanes of the future: solar-powered and in formation. Institution of Mechanical Engi

The passenger plane of the future could be solar powered and travel at five times the speed of sound, but only if the British government act quickly.

Such aircrafts, known as "Scramjet" planes, could come into construction by the end of the century, but British government must act quickly to ensure that the domestic aerospace industry has a chance of making it, according to a report.

Action needs to be taken now if the UK is to be at the forefront of future aerospace innovation, according a report from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME).

Looking towards 2075 and beyond, the report talked of advances that could be made in aircraft design.

It talks of passenger scramjet planes able to fly at around 4,000mph -- five times the speed of sound -- and commercial aircraft flying in a V-shaped formation that could to save power by making use of airflow generated by the plane in front, similar to the way migrating birds support one another in the air. "Taken directly from nature, the concept is akin to the aerodynamic nature of a flock of geese," said IME Chief Executive Stephen Tetlow.

"Aircraft could be configured in a V-shaped, echelon formation when at cruise with following aircraft enjoying a drag reduction and lift advantage from the airflow generated by the aircraft in front," said the report, titled "Aero 2075: Flying into a Bright Future?"

According to the report, these "Scramjet" planes would take around 55 minutes to fly from London to New York.

The report also raises the idea of a "flying fuel station" so that planes do not have to take off with a full tank each time.

"Now is the time for industry and government to focus on sectors that can help lift the country's economy," said Tetlow.

"The UK aerospace sector already employs over 100,000 people around the country and is worth over £29bn a year to our economy, but we need to take action now to ensure this sector can continue to thrive and grow." release 'REALLY?' Video In Response To Shrek Virus