Aerion is preparing to start another round of test flights in the development of what would be the world’s first supersonic business jet. A new test article is set to fly in the centerline position beneath one of NASA’s F-15Bs either this month or next.
Aerion Corp. is preparing to start another round of test flights in the development of what would be the world’s first supersonic business jet (SBJ). A new test article is set to fly in the centerline position beneath one of NASA’s F-15B aircraft in either June or July.
Supersonic business jet developer Aerion Corp. (Booth No. N5707) says it has gained traction among aircraft manufacturers with its new aerodynamics consultancy–Aerion Technologies–since the subsidiary was launched in May at the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE).
The new G250 business jet that IAI builds in partnership with Gulfstream Aerospace is continuing the flight-test program that it started on Dec. 11, 2009. In recent flights, the aircraft has flown up to 40,000 feet at speeds of up to Mach 0.85 as it heads for planned certification before the end of 2011.
Aerion is here in Dubai to tap what it believes could be strong market for the supersonic business jet (SSBJ) it intends to have certified in 2015. According to the U.S. company, it still holds letters of intent for about 50 of the aircraft and has had to refund only two deposits since the start of the financial crisis.
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.
Under the cover of private funding, Honda has been secretly and very seriously developing its six- to eight-seat light turbofan twin. Though the automaker steadfastly maintains it has “no business plan” to manufacture the business jet, the project aircraft has a name, HondaJet, and the development program is well advanced.
Aerion now has commitments covering at least 20 of its proposed supersonic business jet (SSBJ) since it started signing letters of intent with prospective customers in November. The letters of intent come from 20 different clients in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North America; operators committing to the program most recently include Pakistan-based executive charter firm Princely Jets and an undisclosed customer from India.
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.
Honda’s “research project” light jet now has its first logbook entry. The six-passenger HondaJet (its now-official provisional name) broke ground for the first time on December 3 from Honda’s purpose-built research facility at Piedmont Triad Regional Airport (GSO), Greensboro, N.C., on the leasehold of FBO and mod specialist Atlantic Aero.
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