It is difficult to object the fact that aviation is and has always been, remarkable. The outstanding innovations seen throughout each new aircraft variant, whether it be made by Boeing or a company somewhat smaller like Comac are always interesting to observe.
Other transport options like going by boat are considered way too slow compared to the quick travel times offered by modern jets. But an old rival is re emerging and could damage the aviation industry. Not in the form of boats or innovative cars, but trains.
The Hyperloop is a concept designed by Elon Musk and, once completed, is expected to reach speeds of about 760mph or 1,200km/h. One of the busiest air routes in the world, from Los Angeles to San Fransisco, is a proposed route for the Hyperloop, taking a mere 35 minutes. The name for that train route is the “Hyperlink Alpha” and would become the first hyperloop train to exist. Luckily for aviation, developement costs are rumoured to soar above the original budget of $6 billion (passenger-only variant) or $7.5 billion (passenger and vehicle variant). Critics also claim that it is too unsafe and a terrorist attack could be deadly considering the current design features.
Although it boasts great potential in terms of travel times, the Hyperloop has its downsides. It is a sort of threat to the aviation industry, stealing passengers and forcing airlines to stop operating certain routes due to the heavy competition from the Hyperloop. Thanks to its issues however, aviation could catch up, and with the recent announcement that Boom, a manufacturer, intends to create a supersonic jet capable of carrying up to fifty people, it is unlikely that in the near future trains will takeover aviation. What do you think?
Aviation will hopefully still exist for a long time, at least for international flights. As time progress (and as the Hyperloop is or isn’t released), airliners should still become more efficient and should continue to be gradually improved.
Then again, over time, oil could become more scarce as well, making it cheaper to focus on electric-powered ground transportation and renewable resources rather than gas-guzzling airliners. (An electric airliner???)
Whether the Hyperloop is released tomorrow or in 20 years, aviation will likely remain the trusted mode of transportation for the general public. (At least until a few years after the Hyperloop release, that is, if all goes well with the Hyperloop.)
And if we’re talking about even farther into the future (I’m talking about at least 50-100 years), SpaceX currently has plans to use their BFR rocket to make trips between major cities; they say that the rocket can take you from London to Hong Kong in less than 35 minutes, which is insane. Of course, this is still an early concept, but my point is that new innovations in the future could absolutely render aviation as obsolete. Except aviation won’t be nearly as competitive by that point.
I’m sure that in the early stages of naval transportation, people doubted that anything heavier than wood would float, but here we are with our massive floating chunks of metal. I’m sure that people were questioning railroad transportation during it’s early development, but it evolved into one of the most significant transportation methods of its day. I’m sure that nearly everyone was skeptical about flight, let alone metal birds that carry hundreds of passengers, but look at how quickly aviation grew from the early days of the Wright-brothers era. Who knows what the future will bring…
But until then, I’ll be sticking to my 787s and A350s.
The major problem with aviation along with any current major form of transportation is the burning of fossil fuels which emit carbon and cause global warming. Aviation and transportation is a major polluter of the environment and left unchecked will cause irrevocable change in the climate and human civilization.
Aviation will never go away, but it may evolve substantially in ways we cannot fathom. The future is always changing, it is never static. To ask what aviation would look like in 50 years or 100 years I think would be good starting point. If you’re asking whether aviation as it is today will exist in the future, then I think the answer is most definitely no. Primarily, because advancements in propulsion, design, and other forms of transport will change the aviation industry. What are these advancements? Perhaps, they include supersonic flight, very-low or no-emitting propulsion systems, planes that fly higher with more people, the list goes on.
The hyperloop in my opinion has a lot of potential. If powered with renewable, clean energy sources it could equally have a significant impact on transportation of humans and goods. It has the capability of being fast, efficient, and clean and therefore solves some problems that arise with aviation. However, the train was not phased out when planes started taking off in the early 20th century. They’re a major asset in nations that are smaller, more congested in urban areas, and less-reliant on automobiles. They still have there uses just like planes will 50 years from now. And likewise, just because the hyperloop comes along doesn’t mean planes will become grounded. Perhaps the two industries will begin to compete on service and price (benefits of capitalism)!
So no, Aviation will not cease to exist in the future, but it’s a certainty that it will change in ways we really can’t imagine.
Personally I love flying on a plane and I’d choose it over a train anytime… that feeling you get when you look at the clouds from 30K+ feet… it amazes me every time… how high we can fly and people like me will always choose Air travel even if it takes more time… because we just love that feeling of being so high ;)
The Hyperloop concept is certainly plausible for intercontinental transportation. (Don’t even mention trans-con…) But like every other endeavor, it has it’s own technical challenges. We’ll just have to wait and see how things play out.
But no, aviation won’t be disappearing anytime soon. (I hope that isn’t a disappointment :D)
My two cents, concepts like this are always promised to be the next big thing but always end up being a bust either financially or technology wise. Aviation has long been established and will remain the dominant form of transportation for years to come. I do believe you will see leaps in aviation as technology comes up more so then in my opinion this pipe dream. LA to San is at most a few hundred miles while soon we may enjoy New York to London flights in around 3 hours a distance of thousands of miles closed thanks to advancements made by the aviation industry. Overall opinion aviation is not going anywhere anytime soon.
That’s one of the main issues with the Hyperloop as a replacement for air travel. With a train based system you need to create infrastructure along the whole route. With air travel that isn’t necessary, you just need to build a terminal at the start and end points.
One article I found suggests it’d cost $20 for a one-way trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco.
In general, I can see places like California really benefiting from the Hyperloop. I’m pretty sure it’s not designed for much long-distance travel like some of you are saying it won’t be able to do properly…
What I am scared of is growing up into a world where robots etc fly plane, then not being able to peruse my dream of becoming an airline pilot, I believe that ine day that will happen, I also think that when that day comes the aviation community will die, but not the business…