Recent news reports that Gulfstream plans to build a prototype supersonic business jet (SSBJ) by 2013 are inaccurate, according to a company spokesman. “We’re still doing basic research on sonic boom suppression,” he said. Gulfstream engineers did develop an SSBJ design about five years ago, but right now the company plans to continue testing of the Quiet Spike extendable nose boom, which has thus far only undergone structural evaluation, not actual sonic-boom-suppression tests.
The 2013 date mentioned in news reports is for a regularly scheduled ICAO environmental committee meeting that would presumably evaluate a Gulfstream SSBJ demonstrator’s ability to fly quietly over land. “A reporter put two and two together,” the spokesman said, “but it’s not true.”