Aerion Corp., which has been working to bring a supersonic business jet to market, is preparing to launch another series of supersonic flight tests this summer, the company said last week. Designers are fabricating a device representative of the Aerion wing, with a 40-inch vertical span and an 80-inch chord, which will fly in the centerline position beneath NASA's F-15B research aircraft. The flights will launch from Dryden Flight Research Center in California in June or July. The tests will measure the design's supersonic boundary layer transition properties, the company said.
"Our work with NASA will further refine future practical applications of aerodynamics for safe and efficient flight at higher speeds compared to today's conventional subsonic civil aircraft," said Richard Tracy, Aerion's chief technology officer. Aerion has been working on its design for about 20 years, and has been looking for partners who would manufacture and market the jet. The design would carry 8 to 12 passengers at speeds up to Mach 1.6, with a range of 4,000 nm and a ceiling of 51,000 feet. The company said last year it had 50 deposits for the $80 million airplane.