...While Supersonic Plans Are Unveiled...

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Although all the major companies have shiny new hardware to show off and projects to announce, likely the biggest buzz surrounds the plan by a Reno company to build a supersonic bizjet. As AVweb reported a few weeks ago, rumors of Aerion Corp.'s ambitious initiative have been circulating for some time but the official announcement came Monday in Las Vegas. Fundamental to the development of the Mach 1.6 aircraft is the acquisition of the rights to "natural laminar flow" wing design. The wing was developed during the 1990s by a company called Affordable Supersonic Executive Transport Group (Asset Group) and tested by NASA and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). It's said to cut total airframe drag by 20 percent over the delta shape of Concorde. The supersonic bizjet will use next-generation Pratt and Whitney JT8D engines. Detailed design will start next year and the prototypes should be flying by 2011.