After Sir Richard Branson launches the first passenger flight of his Virgin Galactic space venture, possibly later this year, he’s indicated that he will turn his attention to developing a supersonic commercial aircraft that can transit from New York to Tokyo (10,800 km; 5,800 nm) in “less than an hour.” He envisions an orbital aircraft, which could reach speeds up to 30,000 kph (16,200 knots).
Asked about Aerion’s redesigned supersonic business jet announced this week at EBACE, Gulfstream Aerospace president Larry Flynn said, “I think everyone knows Gulfstream has had an interest in supersonic and we have a small research and development project that has been under way for several years. The project is mostly focused on suppressing the sonic boom. Our intentions would be to fly a supersonic airplane over land.
Aerion announced today at EBACE that it is redesigning its proposed supersonic business jet (SSBJ) with a larger cabin and more range, reflecting feedback from a recent survey of potential operators. The new aircraft–dubbed AS2, for Aerion supersonic second design–has three as yet unspecified engines versus the two P&W JT8Ds intended for its now-scrubbed predecessor.
Aerion Corp. (Booth 3634) is redesigning its proposed supersonic business jet (SSBJ) with a larger cabin and more range, reflecting feedback from a recent operators survey. The new aircraft–dubbed AS2, for Aerion supersonic second design–has three engines versus two on its now-scrubbed predecessor. It still retains a supersonic natural laminar-flow wing, which it calls “the key enabling technology behind practical and efficient supersonic and high-subsonic flight.”
The world’s economy, for the most part, is slowly and steadily improving, but that has not yet provided the general aviation industry with a shot in the arm. During the past year only two clean-sheet jet designs were formally unveiled–the Pilatus PC-24 and Dassault Falcon 5X–but these were known to be under way for many years before this year’s public program launches.
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 chief technology officer and director Dr. Richard Tracy told AIN today at EBACE that his company is “revisiting” the powerplant for its proposed $80 million supersonic business jet (SSBJ), citing the previously selected Pratt & Whitney JT8D-219’s inability to meet upcoming Stage 5 noise requirements.
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 has started its next round of high-speed test flights, in conjunction with NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, to validate the laminar-flow wing for its supersonic business jet. These tests, using a test article mounted under the centerline of NASA’s F-15B research aircraft and flown at speeds up to Mach 2.0, are intended to measure the real-world robustness of supersonic natural laminar flow. Information from these tests will help define manufacturing standards for surface quality and assembly tolerances of the proposed SSBJ’s laminar-flow wing.
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.
- Page 1