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).
It is ironic that a Scottish entrepreneur who failed to make a success of two innovative aviation projects has had more success in what many would consider the much riskier world of land-speed record breaking.
A qualified pilot, Richard Noble created ARV Aviation in 1983 to design and build an all-British light aircraft: the Super2, which was powered by a Hewland AE75 three-cylinder two-stroke engine, but only 35 were made before production ceased.
Most activity in business jet engine research and development is taking place for business aircraft at the top end of the size range. Snecma (Booth 5515) is developing the Silvercrest for the Dassault Falcon 5X, while Pratt & Whitney Canada (Booth 3834) has readied a new variant of the PW307 for the newly revealed Falcon 8X. The Québec-based manufacturer is also running the PW800, a demonstrator in the 10,000- to 20,000-lb-thrust range. GE (Booth 5551) is working on its Passport engine for Bombardier’s Global 7000 and 8000.
Simrit, a global supplier of precision-manufactured products for the aerospace industry, is focusing on fuel efficiency as the main theme during the show. The company is promoting its recently developed proprietary, low-density silicone materials–AMS 3302 and AMS 3303–to commercial airframe manufacturers. It has started supply to an undisclosed manufacturer, and the first aircraft using the new material will enter service in early 2014.
Canada’s National Research Council (Hall 4 Stand C18B) has been flight-testing its Dassault Falcon 20 fueled by biofuel while sampling the exhaust using a probe fitted to a Lockheed T-33 chase plane. The NRC believes the exercise to be a world first.
Delays associated with the Pratt & Whitney PW1217G-powered Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) haven’t deterred the U.S. engine maker from proceeding with its test program as planned.
Snecma has finally found an aircraft for its Silvercrest engine to power after Cessna announced its selection here yesterday for its Longitude super-midsize jet, which is scheduled to enter service in 2017. It has been almost five years since the French manufacturer announced that it was to develop its first business-jet engine program, but finding its first application has proved to be a frustratingly long road.
Diamond Aircraft appears to have secured new funding that will allow it to resume progress on the single-engine D-Jet program. The funding–“a significant investment”–is dedicated to the D-Jet, according to Diamond, and permits the company to recall furloughed engineers and technicians, resume flight testing and build the next test aircraft. This is subject, however, “to finalization of closing arrangements” for the funding.
Cincinnati, Ohio-based Nexcelle (Hall 2A, A232) is exhibiting what it calls an industry- leading integrated propulsion system here in Paris in the form of afunctional scale model demonstrating elements of its next-generation, engine nacelle configuration.
The European Union (EU) is trying to attract more small- and medium-size enterprises to participate in its long-running CleanSky joint technology program. With public funds available to back research-and-development work aimed at reducing the environmental impact of air transport, it hopes to spread such support beyond major aerospace firms.
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