Supersonic travel has been around for quite some time in the commercial space. From 1976 until 2003 passengers onboard the Air France or British Airways Concorde could cross the Atlantic in just three hours. Boeing’s new partnership with Aerion Supersonic, a Nevada based company, will try to bring supersonic travel to the private aviation realm.
Founded in 2003, Aerion sought to develop new, more efficient aerodynamic technologies for supersonic aircraft. In 2014, Aerion introduced its AS2 12-passenger business jet design. Designed to fly at speeds up to Mach 1.4 (1074 mph) the AS2 will save approximately three hours on a transatlantic flights while meeting environmental performance requirements.
While Aerion will provide the jet design, Boeing will provide resources such as engineering, manufacturing and flight testing, as well as strategic vertical content to bring Aerion’s AS2 supersonic business jet to market.
The $120 million AS2 will be able to reach Mach 1.2 (792 mph) without its sonic “boom” reaching the ground, thus enabling it to travel over land containing noise restrictions that would otherwise prohibit supersonic jets from passing overhead. Currently, U.S. law prohibits flights in excess of Mach 1 to fly over land unless specifically authorized by the FAA.
As part of the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) priority on innovation in transportation, the DOT and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are taking steps to advance the development of civil supersonic aircraft. With support from Congress, the FAA is drafting a proposed set of guidelines for civil supersonic aircraft noise and special flight testing. The deadline for publishing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) is due to Congress by December 31, 2019. If all goes as planned, the AS2 will make its first flight in 2023 and enter service two years later, pending certification from the FAA and international aviation authorities.