All About Supersonic Jets

In today’s time-pressed world, one of the major benefits of private jet travel is how much faster you can reach your destination. Designing your own itinerary, avoiding connections, and no waiting around at the airport…all adds up to a much faster journey from A to B.

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But when to comes to flying faster, supersonic flight is the big gamechanger, reducing flight times by hours on longer routes. Since the demise of Concorde – which first flew 50 years’ ago this month –  supersonic flight has been confined to the military sector. But a number of new concepts are now vying to launch the new era of civilian supersonic aviation, with Aerion leading the charge.

I sat down with Ernie Edwards, Chief Commercial Officer & Executive Vice President of Sales, to pick his brain on the latest updates from production of the Aerion AS2.

Ernie leads all aspects of the sales effort for the Aerion AS2.

Ernie leads all aspects of the sales effort for the Aerion AS2.

I hope you enjoy this interview about the Aerion AS2. If you would like a custom quote for a (currently flying) private jet charter, please contact us online or call us at (866) 726-1222.

When will AS2 aircraft be first delivered and when will the first commercial supersonic flight happen?

First flight of the AS2 is planned for June 2023. Certification will be in 2025, with entry into service in early 2026. Flexjet will be receiving some of the early deliveries and will operate some of the first commercial flights.

Can you highlight some of the key routes it will accomplish and what airport limitations will there be for landing and take-off?

New York to London, Paris, Munich, Geneva, Moscow, Tel Aviv, Jeddah, Riyadh and UAE; Los Angeles to Hawaii, Sydney, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo. It will be operated as any other large business jet, point-to-point, wherever the passengers need to go.

aerion-AS2

If you had to choose just one, what is the most significant development in supersonic technology since Concorde?

The engine. The AS2 will be powered by the quiet, powerful and efficient GE Affinity(TM) engine, the first new supersonic engine in more than 50 years. Aerion and GE are committed to meeting the latest Stage 5 noise requirements, making the AS2 a welcome neighbor wherever it lands.

Aerion_AS2_Interior2_HR

A peek into what makes this engine tick. Image: Aerion

How do you get around the sonic boom restrictions and noise regulations?

The AS2 flies efficiently just under the speed of sound at Mach 0.95. It can also fly at Boomless Cruise (TM) speeds up to Mach 1.2. At speeds up to Mach 1.2, the AS2’s sonic boom will dissipate well before reaching the ground. On-board systems will measure atmospheric conditions and adjust speed to prevent a boom from touching down.

With Aerion’s first order (in 2015) being from Flexjet, is the supersonic market opportunity more with business jets as opposed to airlines? And what does the current order pipeline look like?

Flexjet was the launch customer for the Aerion AS2 with its order for 20 aircraft. We have not disclosed our order book. The AS2 is a business jet, which we consider a vibrant first market for supersonic capability. We intend to build a family of aircraft, including airliners.

Aerion AS2 Hangar_600x400

What is the biggest barrier that still exists between supersonic development and commercial reality?

With our recent partnership with Boeing, and the announcement of the GE engine, all the conditions are in place to bring the AS2 to market. There are no technical barriers remaining to achieve supersonic flight of the AS2.

How do you see costs being measured and how will the hourly rate compare to business jets?

Generally speaking operating an AS2 will be somewhat more expensive than current large cabin business jets to fly up to 70 percent faster.

How many people can the AS2 seat and how will the interior design and experience be elevated from business jets and airliners?

The standard AS2 will be configured for 8 passengers. Customers may select a seating arrangement that could accommodate up to 11 passengers very comfortably. The AS2 offers unsurpassed speed and luxury. The experience will be beyond anything in business aviation today.

Interior options for the AS2

Interior options for the AS2. Image: Aerion

Does Wi-Fi work when travelling supersonic?

Yes. And with technical advancements we know about today, will be even quicker than current systems.

Can anything match the magic of fly supersonic on Concorde? What aspects of the Concorde experience are you revitalizing and what are the biggest step-changes?

Concorde passengers recall it as rather cramped—fast class, not first class. The AS2 will offer its passengers unparalleled luxury and amenities in a wider, taller, quieter cabin, with the ability to get into and out of business aviation reliever airports large jets use today.

With any additional questions, or with a private jet charter request, please contact us online or call us at (866) 726-1222.