Aerion, the U.S. company that is developing a supersonic business jet (SSBJ), has welcomed an FAA policy shift which it believes “seems to crack open the door for supersonic cruise speeds” if, in the words of FAA policy guidance released last month, “the noise impacts of supersonic flight are shown to be acceptable.”
The proposed Aerion SSBJ design is low-noise in that it is projected to meet Stage 4 requirements and, according to the company, initial tests show that it will not produce a sonic boom at ground level during cruise until it reaches Mach 1.2. This so-called “Mach cut-off” level has been verified by NASA.
Aerion has been in discussions with potential manufacturing partners with a stated aim of project certification by 2014. It has received more than 50 letters of interest backed by $250,000 deposits for the $80 million aircraft, including several from Middle Eastern customers.