...But Other Results Not In Yet

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Other airframers, including Bombardier and Raytheon, professed pleasure with the results of their showing at NBAA this year, although no company except Cessna has attached numbers to their performance. Bombardier, which celebrated U.S. type certification of its Global 5000 on Oct. 12, also announced its claim to a speed record on landing the plane at Vegas. According to the company, the jet covered the 4,597 nautical miles from Dublin to Vegas in 0955, against 26-knot-average headwinds. Meanwhile, two other companies made the trek to NBAA to market even faster products: supersonic business jets. The best-known of the two competitors, Aerion, went public with its long-rumored plans for an SSBJ while Supersonic Aerospace International (SAI) announced it "has successfully confirmed the design for the Quiet Small Supersonic Transport (QSST) which will facilitate transcontinental and intercontinental supersonic travel. The QSST will be able to comply with or exceed all applicable environmental standards and FAA rules for takeoff and landing noise." According to an SAI press release, the QSST program is under the direction of J. Michael Paulson, son of former Gulfstream head Allen Paulson, "using funds Allen Paulson left in trust for this project." Like Aerion's effort, SAI maintains it has developed an engineering solution to the sonic-boom problem on which FAA regulations banning supersonic flight over U.S. territory are based. Those regulations -- and the poor economics resulting from forcing subsonic flight on supersonic aircraft -- helped doom Concorde and the U.S. supersonic transport. "The QSST is a giant leap in speed, productivity, and comfort. It will define the future of business, commercial and government travel in the 21st Century," said the younger Paulson. To date, SAI has not specified which engine will power its SSBJ but vows its offering will be the first to market. All of which makes us wonder why Burt Rutan of SpaceShipOne fame, among other achievements, hasn't tilted at this windmill.