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.
Aerion has seen the business aircraft market change substantially since it announced development of a supersonic business jet (SSBJ) design at the 2004 NBAA convention, but the company remains bullish about market demand for such an aircraft, and its plans to bring its design to fruition. Ahead of NBAA ‘12, Aerion (Booth No.
Here we are in 2012, nearly 110 years since the Wright Brothers made the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air flight, and with some notable exceptions aircraft design over the years has become about as conservative and uninspired as a bowl of Jello.
Aerion announced a collaborative effort yesterday with NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, to mature the space agency’s new supersonic inlet (Supin) computer code. The software has been developed to perform aerodynamic design and analysis on engine inlets for future high-speed aircraft, such as Aerion’s proposed supersonic business jet (SSBJ).
Aerion is gearing up to conduct more supersonic laminar flow testing at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center for its proposed supersonic business jet. In a few weeks, a test article will be flown on a NASA F-15 at speeds up to Mach 2.0 to evaluate supersonic boundary layer transition properties. At the recent EBACE show in Geneva, AIN sat down with Aerion chief technology officer Dr. Richard Tracy to learn more about this testing, as well as the technology behind Aerion’s SSBJ.
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