Reno, Nev.-based Aerion is releasing results from recent flight tests of a natural laminar flow (NLF) wing test article this week here in Las Vegas, while the company continues to work to have its supersonic business jet enter service in 2020. The goal of these tests was to measure “real-world robustness” of supersonic NLF, which is a key technology for the Aerion SSBJ, in regards to surface quality and manufacturing tolerances.
Aerion, which has been defining and refining its design for a supersonic business jet (SSBJ) for the past 11 years, is here at EBACE (Booth 7030) still quietly confident that it will someday be able to add the word “producer” to its résumé. To that end, a NASA F-15 has been flying this spring from Dryden Flight Research Center in California with an 80- by 40-inch section of Aerion airfoil attached to its belly.
Aerion, which aims to develop a supersonic business jet, promoted Doug Nichols to CEO yesterday. Nichols, who was previously COO at the company, also joined Aerion’s board of directors. In his new capacity he is responsible for all corporate activities of Aerion, including its recently acquired Desktop Aeronautics aerospace software and consultancy subsidiary based in Palo Alto, Calif. “Doug’s promotion…will allow an increasingly vertically integrated Aerion to expand and monetize its portfolio of transonic and supersonic intellectual property,” said Robert M.
The transonic speed spat between Cessna’s Citation Ten and Gulfstream’s G650 is likely to hit of the stops at Mach 0.95 when it encounters not “the sound barrier” but required safety margins. With the Ten’s top speed now pegged at Mach 0.935, Gulfstream’s G650 could thus leapfrog the Ten only slightly, if the Savannah-based aircraft manufacturer even chooses to do so.