With Supersonics In The Works

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While VLJs are the next big thing on the horizon, there is always something new just beyond. For aviators, that next next thing could be the comeback of supersonic passenger airplanes. Yesterday, Aerion Corp. announced that it has secured funding for its supersonic jet through program launch -- the point at which production design and prototype development would begin. "All of our activities to this point have shown that the aircraft is technically and economically viable," Aerion Vice Chairman Brian Barents said in a news release. More public definitions for those variables will likely develop along with the aircraft. "This has given us the confidence to enter into discussions with OEMs and first-tier suppliers who would become consortium partners." Barents added that the program is "on schedule and on plan," with ongoing efforts to further refine the design and to confirm supersonic performance. Active discussions with potential partners are ongoing. Aerion engineers said their continuing research has shown that they can achieve gains in range, performance and cabin size beyond their original goals. The Aerion supersonic business jet aims to cruise at Mach 1.6 with a range in excess of 4,000 nautical miles. The company predicts certification five years from program launch.