Tag Archives: London

The New Concorde? Supersonic Plane Could Fly from New York to London in 3 Hours

Hopping the pond is about to get a lot quicker.

A new supersonic jet that some are calling “Son of the Concorde” could fly from New York to London in three hours, and may be used to transport commercial airline passengers sooner than you think.

The NASA creation, officially called a Low-Boom Flight Demonstrator (LBFD), can break the sound barrier without creating the deafening sonic boom of previous models, therefore making it a serious contender for use in commercial flights — something that hasn’t happened since the Concorde was grounded in 2003.

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The speed of sound is 767 mph. The goal of the LBFD is to fly at 1,074 mph.

While the technology previously existed and NASA has already been testing a preliminary design called the Quiet Supersonic Transport, or QueSST, the U.S. government’s recently approved 2019 budget includes full funding for the experimental plane. If all goes to plan, it will make its first test run in 2021. Potential commercial flights would follow.

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The project “would open a new market for U.S. companies to build faster commercial airliners, creating jobs and cutting cross-country flight times in half,” according to the White House Budget, which also increases funding for “research on flight at speeds more than five times the speed of sound, commonly referred to as hypersonics,” used for spacecrafts and national defense applications.

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A few other companies, including Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, are working on similar projects. Virgin’s proposed plane would travel at twice the speed of sound, or 1,451 mph.

Can Arsenal repeat the quality performance of the last North London derby?

Last November Arsenal went into the first North London derby of the season with a touch of trepidation. It was the first game back after an Interlull, before which we’d been beaten 3-1 by Man City and serious questions were being asked of the team.

On the day we put in one of our best performances of the season, perhaps still the best despite scoring five against Everton twice because you have to take into account the gulf in quality between the opposition. Goals from Shkodran Mustafi and Alexis Sanchez gave us a 2-0 win, and although that was followed by victories against Burnley and Huddersfield, our Premier League form since has been patchy.

We’ve won just six of the fourteen games since that derby triumph, and although spirits have been lifted by the arrivals of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan we’ve yet to display anything like the consistency we need – and with a top four chase heading into its final stages, time is running out.

On that day at the Emirates, the win was built off the platform of a superb defensive performance. The back three of Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi and Nacho Monreal were, to a man, outstanding, and the sight of both Harry Kane and Dele Alli being hauled off having had no impact on the game whatsoever was a very enjoyable one.

It’s why I think that we’ll use the same back three today. It’s not just because this is a game which is ostensibly away from home, but because it worked so well back then. Maybe it gives Sp*rs a chance to find a way to deal with it, but it’s hard to see Arsene Wenger using a back four today regardless of how well it worked last weekend. I say this knowing that second guessing Wenger is a difficult task and he could easily decide to go for it with a back four, but it would be a risk.

As I wrote during the week he’s got a decision to make about who plays at left wing-back, the more natural Sead Kolasinac or Ainsley Maitland-Niles? If it were me, despite his lack of form, I think I’d go for the Bosnian because of his experience, but if it’s the other way around I’d be ok with that.

Three at the back means losing one from further up the pitch, and it feels like Alex Iwobi is the obvious man to miss out there. A front three of Aubameyang with Ozil and Mkhitaryan in behind is both a statement of intent and one which will give them something to think about. It’s new and different, making us more unpredictable as a team, and when it comes right down to it they’re our three best attacking options so anything other than that would be a huge surprise.

The only other question then is which midfield duo he’ll play and I can’t look beyond him picking Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka because that’s what he’s done for most of this season. Like many I would have some reservations about them as a duo. It can work, we’ve seen that, but it’s also a partnership not without its flaws, and they will have be seriously disciplined today against a side that will look to take advantage of the space they often leave between them.

But then hard work should be a given going into a derby, and you won’t win a match like this without it. The players know that as well as anyone, and even if they’re a little concerned about this being a game away from home when our form on the road has been so patchy, the fact that we’re playing at Wembley should help.

This is not the same as going to White Hart Lane. This is a stadium we know well, and at which we’ve had a great record over the last few years. Whatever that mental block we have about away games is, it shouldn’t really apply today. I hope that’s the case anyway, because this really is a massive game.

Arsene Wenger says he’s not giving up on the top four, and it was telling at his press conference when he more or less rejected the idea that this was ‘must not lose’ game for Arsenal, insisting that we’d be out to win it. I can see what he means, the amount of fixtures left is ever decreasing and three points today would really put a bit of pressure on the teams above us.

That said, a defeat would leave us 7 behind Sp*rs, and if Liverpool and Chelsea win their games this weekend against Southampton and West Brom we’d be 9 and 8 points behind them respectively. Do we have to take a bit more risk today, go all in for the win and to get the points we need, or does there need to be some measure of caution with another 11 games to go after today?

It’s difficult, and I hope that it doesn’t have an impact on our performance. All we can say is that we know we can beat them, we’ve done it before this season, and on our day we’re good enough to take three points off almost everyone. The worry is that when it’s not our day, we can drop them to anyone too. Let’s hope it’s one of the former when we kick off at 12.30.

If you can’t follow the game later, remember we’ll have full live blog coverage for you, with up to the second text commentary which you can follow on your phone, tablet, computer or whatever else you use. And we’ll have all the post-match stuff, report, ratings, stats etc over on Arseblog News.

Time for breakfast, a walk with the dog, then the game. Come on you reds.

Three questions as the North London derby build-up begins

Morning all. The build up the derby begins in earnest today with Arsene Wenger set to meet the press this morning. The early, if unofficial, team news, suggests that Petr Cech should be fit, Nacho Monreal has recovered from illness, and Danny Welbeck is back in contention for a place in the squad.

All of those things will be confirmed by the manager later on, and there are other questions that hopefully he’ll answer as we prepare for what is a crucial Wembley encounter. Such as:

Back three or back four?

The back four worked well at home against Crystal Palace and Everton. We won both games, scored 9 goals and conceded two, but it did not work when we went to Swansea in the middle of those two fixtures. You could ask if it was simply an off night all round, and that’s probably not too far from the truth as individual errors were the real problem rather than the formation, but given our away form this season it feels like it goes a bit beyond that.

There’s a psychological issue plaguing the players on the road. It’s not their technical quality, but something inside their heads. Given that one of our best performances of the season was the 2-0 win over Sp*rs earlier in the season, and that we played that day with a back three, I’d be very, very surprised if we didn’t use that formation on Saturday.

It’d mean Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi and Nacho Monreal forming that defensive trio, but that system also raises another question:

Who plays left wing-back?

Ordinarily, you’d say the obvious choice would be the experienced international player who we brought in, it seems, to play in that very position, but Sead Kolasinac has been struggling of late. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why. He looked very promising early on, even if he had some defensive issues to work on, but he had a hip injury and since then his form has slumped.

There have been issues with his passing, at least three times this season his pass completion rate has been below 60% which, for a player in his position, is well below what’s required. It’s hard not to think he’s having a hard time physically, perhaps the injury is still affecting him and with that his confidence has taken a knock too, and all of those things and a loss of form have left him in a difficult place.

It’s too early to write him off, remember this is a man selected in the Bundesliga team of the season last year, but we can’t be blind to how hard he’s finding it at the moment. When Ainsley Maitland-Niles replaced Nacho Monreal at left back in the first half of the Crystal Palace game a few weeks back, it was a sign that the manager is, at the moment, unconvinced by the Bosnian’s form and/or fitness.

Wenger has shown that he’s got no worries about playing the 20 year old in big games, selecting him against Liverpool and Chelsea, but you still have to weigh up the risk of playing an inexperienced player out of position for a game as important and pressurised as this one.

It’s not an easy decision. On form, Maitland-Niles seems a good option, he’s quick and won’t be overawed by the occasion. On the other hand, Kolasinac played in the 2-0 win and did well, so it’s one that will give Wenger some thought I’m sure.

How away is this game?

If we were going to White Hart Lane I think I’d be feeling a bit more nervous about this one because of our poor record away from home this season, but we’re not. We’re going to Wembley, a ground we know well, and a place where we’ve had a lot of success in recent years.

We know this isn’t their home, they’re only squatting for a season while they do what they’re doing to their stadium, and it shouldn’t feel like a proper away game because of that. It won’t as noisy or atmospheric as normal, and any little thing we can hang on to to make this less of an away game the better.

On away games only, we sit 10th in the Premier League table with a record that says: Played 13, Won 3, Lost 6, Drawn 4 and with a goal difference of -6. Just 13 points on the road this season. In that not real table of just away games, the top 5 are the same teams that occupy the top 5 in the actual table, with Saturday’s opposition in 5th with 21 points. It tells a story.

Like many, I was hugely encouraged by what we did against Everton and how we played, but until we can add some solidity on the road, and find some measure of consistency for these games, it’s going to remain a big worry. We’ve put in good defensive performances away at Chelsea a couple of times this season, and people would say we’ve got the measure of them because of how often we’ve played.

It shouldn’t be that difficult to do something similar on Saturday. We know how they want to play, who they want to get the ball to and where, and the game at the Emirates in November was the blueprint for what we need to do this weekend. It’s certainly within our capability, but the wildcard of our away form still looms large over this one.

We’ll have all the team news and more from the press conference over on Arseblog News this morning. Tim Stillman will be here with his column later on, and I’ll be back tomorrow with an Arsecast and more.

Until then.