Aerion Storms the Gates of Supersonic Travel

March 07, 2016

Competition is heating up in the realm of supersonic aviation. Ever since the grounding of the Concorde, no commercial craft has been available to travel faster than the speed of sound for civilian use. This has left travelers crawling along at the same maximum speed as at the beginning of the Jet Age in the 1960s.

Aerion, an Applied CAx customer, is gaining success in its efforts to be first-to-market with a new supersonic option. Its eight-passenger supersonic business jet, the AS2, is targeting a first flight by 2019, with deliveries beginning in 2023.

The triple-engine plane is slated to fly at 49,000 feet with a maximum speed of 1,100, slightly less than the Concorde. At that speed the AS2 can still trim two-and-a-half hours from current flight times between London and New York.

In 2014, the Nevada-based company signed a technology sharing deal with aerospace giant Airbus, who is reported to be providing engineering support on the fuselage, avionics and landing gear.

And in late 2015, Aerion inked a firm order for 20 AS2’s from Flexjet LLC, a Texas-based business aviation company.

The company is featured in the current March 2016 issue of Mechanical Engineering, by ASME.org. The article, “Back to the Sound Barrier” by Greg Freiherr, highlights the Airbus partnership, growing competition in supersonic aviation, and engineering challenges.

Adding to the excitement is renewed interest from NASA in supersonic travel. The agency has awarded a $20 million contract to Lockheed Martin for developing a design for a supersonic aircraft over the next 17 months. NASA believes engineering expertise has advanced to where the traditional sonic boom can be lessened into a sonic soft thump, or “heartbeat.” It’s possible, the agency says, people on the ground might not hear this brief rumble, thus allowing for supersonic travel over land.

Applied CAx provides ongoing Femap assets and support to Aerion, and had a great site visit in mid-2015. We wish Aerion continued success in 2016!

It’s time to unleash your potential

Reach out to the team at Applied CAx to learn how our aerospace solutions can make your company’s goals achievable.