Aerion is proceeding with research in the development of its supersonic business jet while it continues discussions with potential manufacturing partners that would lead to a joint Aerion-OEM design study. Aerion’s hope is that this design study, essentially the nine- to 12-month proof-of-concept phase of the program, would result in a decision by the partners to proceed with full-scale development and production of the Aerion SSBJ.
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has exceeded Mach 1 for the first time–a timely achievement after a recent Rand study suggested that the design lacked maneuverability for air-to-air combat. Lockheed Martin said that the Lightning II accelerated to Mach 1.05 with a full internal load of inert weapons–5,400 pounds–on November 13. The design top speed is Mach 1.6. The Rand study on Air Combat discussed the potential performance of U.S.
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.”
Aerion executives still hope they will secure an OEM partner by the end of the year to build the company’s supersonic business jet, but vice chairman Brian Barents told NBAA Convention News that the company won’t “fall off a cliff” if the deadline passes without an announcement.
“Everybody talks about the weather,” Mark Twain once famously quipped, “but nobody ever does anything about it.”
Reno, Nev.-based Aerion on Sunday announced at the Dubai Air Show that it is now accepting letters of intent for a “limited number” of early delivery positions for its 12-seat supersonic business jet (SSBJ). “Market demand has driven our decision to begin accepting deposits,” said company vice chairman Brian Barents.
Business aircraft crews are being urged to ensure they are using true Mach numbers in all airspace where the Mach number technique (MNT) is applied for longitudinal separation. According to a bulletin from the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), some pilots are unaware that their displays show uncorrected Mach numbers and will not therefore be conveying their true Mach speed to air traffic controllers.
SSBJ UPDATE: Elsewhere in this issue (“In The Works,” page 78) is word of Sukhoi’s continuing work on feasibility studies on the S-21, a supersonic business jet that, according to the company’s general director of civil aircraft, could not appear before 2010 or 2012.
Mach 1, a Southern California aircraft broker, and two of its principals, Brian Doherty and John Mouyos, plan to appeal a jury’s decision that they are liable for fraud, according to their attorney. A Southern California Superior Court jury recently ordered the defendants to pay more than $30 million in damages to Jet Source, an FBO and aircraft sales firm at McClellan-Palomar Airport in Carlsbad, Calif.
Sino Swearingen insists that the 2,500-nm-range SJ30-2 will be certified in the third quarter of this year, despite numerous program delays and the crash of S/N 002 in April 2003 (see page 1). “Three test aircraft–Serial Numbers 003, 004 and 005–are now flying seven days a week, and I’m comfortable that we will achieve FAA approval in the third quarter,” a company spokesman told AIN.