Air travel has been provided with a glimpse into the future as Boeing unveiled radical new designs for "transonic" travel - and it looks like we are returning to bi-planes for faster flight.

This is no Bigglesian Sopwith – instead Boeing's new truss-supported concept is a new breed of plane altogether.

The innovation involves a thin, folding 'overwing' supported by a truss which Boeing claims will allow future craft to approach close to the speed of sound.

The wings allow for cruising at higher altitudes, faster speeds and greater efficiency.
Plans christened as the "Transonic Truss-Braced Wing" boast an extended span of 52 metres.

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This length is supported by the truss wings which carry lift and stabilise the structure.
The revolutionary design has also allowed engineers to increase top speed from Mach 0.75 to Mach 0.8, close to the speed of sound, or Mach 1.

BBJ 777X: Boeing's new business jet puts any city on Earth within range. Photo / Supplied
BBJ 777X: Boeing's new business jet puts any city on Earth within range. Photo / Supplied

Boeing developed the wing in partnership with NASA over the past 10 years.

Working to the brief of producing "Subsonic Ultra Green Aircraft" the programme has also made breakthroughs in reducing aircraft noise and performance.

The announcement of the striking "Truss Wing" concept comes amidst a raft of other developments from Boeing.

In December, the aerospace company announced its next generation of business jet, allowing for non-stop flight between "any two cities on Earth".

The BBJ 777X has an operating range of 21,570 km – putting Auckland within easy reach of non-stop flights to London or Paris.

Boeing 777X: The future of long range commercial flight. Photo / Supplied
Boeing 777X: The future of long range commercial flight. Photo / Supplied

The 777X is in excellent position to claim the crown of longest uninterrupted flight from Airbus, whose A350 XWB recently claimed the title of longest range jetliner.

Flight range is not the only thing being extended by the 777X - at 77 metres long and 72 metres across, the plane boasts longest aircraft body and widest wingspan ever produced by Boeing.

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With several production milestones reached in late 2018, the 777X is the future of commercial aviation which is likely to arrive sooner rather than later.