Aviation News

December 4, 2015

The 1,000mph Business Jet Might Actually Happen

We see it all the time in aviation: a great-looking original concept that makes a big splash, but doesn’t ever get off the drawing board. But there is now great hope for avgeeks and even the future of supersonic transportation, as the Aerion AS2 “Concorde of Business Jets” has been bolstered by an order of 20 aircraft from FlexJet, announced at NBAA this week in Las Vegas.

Aerion has been working on Supersonic Natural Laminar Flow (SNLF) since the late 1990s, with NASA. They first introduced a supersonic business jet (SBJ) concept in 2004, and received 50 orders for the plane. However the economic recession in 2008 put a halt to that program. Fast forward to 2014, when Aerion announced a strategic partnership with Airbus. The company introduced the AS2 design — a tri-engine configuration, capable of achieving supersonic speed of Mach 1.5, or a slower “Boomless Cruise” of Mach 1.1 to 1.2.

The 20-plane deal with FlexJet is worth $2.4 Billion at list prices, and has been backed by a nonrefundable deposit. FlexJet also ordered 20 Bombardier Challenger 350s at NBAA. FlexJet CEO Ken Ricci said, “we realize that there is not a ‘one size that fits all’ for our clients.”

Image via Aerion

Image via Aerion

The AS2 is 170 feet long, which will take up quite a bit of space at your local FBO. It’s only 7 feet shorter than a 767-300! However, its 30-foot long interior makes it much shorter than that of a Gulfstream G650, which is capable of getting very close to Mach speed itself. The As2 range of 5,300 nautical miles also falls far short of the G650’s 7,000. But perhaps I’m making an apples to oranges comparison here. If you have the need for speed and perhaps attention, the As2 is the plane for you.

 

Paul Thompson has over 13 years of experience working in the airline industry. He is based in Denver, Colorado. You can follow him on Twitter at @FlyingPhotog or on his personal blog planegeek.com.

(test 07DEC151538z)



About the Author

Paul Thompson





 
 

 

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