High-speed aircraft (Hisac), a European research project to study the feasibility of a supersonic business jet (SSBJ), is coming to a close at the end of this year, having shown better understanding of the achievable performance but without an answer to the big question mark on engines. Dassault has led the program, which counts Italy’s Alenia Aeronautica and Russia’s Sukhoi among its other major stakeholders.
The 28th salon aéronautique et spatial in 1969, promised something special. And it kept its promises.
Despite the current economic crisis and the absence of two major U.S. business jet manufacturers (Gulfstream and Cessna), organizers of the Paris Air Show have said that this year’s event will not be down significantly in size compared with years past, when the industry has been more buoyant.
When the Cessna Citation X received FAA certification in June 1996, it officially became the fastest business aircraft, with an Mmo of Mach 0.92. Only the Concorde was a faster civil airplane at that time. So when British Airways and Air France announced in April 2003 that they had decided to ground the Concorde for good, the Citation X assumed the mantle of fastest civil aircraft, as well.
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.”
Is there a pilot alive whose pulse has not raced upon seeing Concorde’s lithe shape part the sky? Of the many airliner cockpit rides I have been fortunate enough to take over the past 25 years, uppermost in memory have to be seven flights aboard British Airways Concordes, six of them viewed from the jumpseat in that decidedly cozy cockpit.
It is symbolic of the malaise cloaking aviation as it celebrates the centennial of powered flight that, for the first time since Orville and Wilbur Wright made history in 1903, man-kind will have to settle for flying more slowly than before. Concorde, the airplane that opened supersonic flight to anyone with the means to buy a ticket, will retire this year after 27 years of service with British Airways and Air France.
What is fractional ownership in Europe? Judging by the way the concept has morphed since it started to appear in the continent during the second half of the 1990s, the answer might well be “whatever sir or madam would like it to be today.”
The decades that preceded the 1970s were propelled by a lust for technological progress measured in speed, altitude and range. The 1970s marked a sea change for aviation, brought on largely by the rude realization that cheap and freely available
fuel could no longer be taken for granted. The commercial mission, which continues to this day, then became that of transporting ever more people on the least amount