Aerion supersonic business jet
Veteran business aviation executive Brian Barents is taking the new role as executive chairman of Aerion, as the Reno, Nevada-based firm moves to take the next step in bringing its AS2 supersonic business jet to market. Previously co-chairman, Barents will oversee the strategy to bring the Mach 1.6 jet to market. He will work closely with Doug Nichols, who will continue leading the day-to-day operations of Aerion.
Aerion and GE Aviation in May announced a collaboration to define the final engine configuration for the AS2, and Aerion further is holding multiple discussions for an “industrialization plan” for the airplane.
“This step strengthens the capability of the Aerion organization by elevating a singularly prominent industry veteran to further relationships with key decision makers at OEMs, tier-one suppliers and other critical constituencies,” said Aerion chairman Robert Bass of the new appointment. “Brian brings to this new role a uniquely successful career in aviation turn-arounds, startups and new product launches.”
In 2014, the design was updated as the Aerion AS2 , with length and takeoff weight increased to accommodate customer requests.  
A decade ago, talk of bringing a supersonic business jet to market seemed like it was so far into the future that it barely rated a second thought.
Fast forward 13 years after the formation of Aerion Corp., an advanced engineering group that introduced one of two concepts to the aerospace and business aviation communities. While such an aircraft is still some years away from first flight, the concept seems less futuristic and more real.
Today, at the European Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition (EBACE), Aerion’s board of directors officially authorized the sale of its AS2 supersonic business jet at a price of $120 million in 2015 dollars—or roughly double the list price of thewide-cabin, ultra-long-range G650. The initial 50 launch customers will receive preferential pricing and other benefits available only for this first tranche of orders.
A supersonic business jet ( SSBJ ) would be a small business jet , intended to travel at speeds above Mach 1.0 ( supersonic aircraft ). No SSBJs are currently available, although several manufacturers are working on or have worked on designs.
Typically intended to transport about ten passengers, proposed SSBJs would be about the same size as traditional subsonic business jets. Only two large commercial supersonic transports ever entered service: the Aérospatiale/British Aerospace Concorde and Tupolev Tu-144 . They had relatively high costs, high noise, high fuel consumption and some environmental concerns. Both were operated under large government subsidy and did not recoup development costs.
Several manufacturers believe that many of these concerns can be successfully addressed at a smaller scale. In addition, it is believed that small groups of high-value passengers (such as executives or heads of state ) will find value in higher speed transport.
Supersonic flight—it conjures up ideas of speed, luxury, the future. But the very first flight to break the sound barrier occurred 70 years ago this week . Since then, we've seen the development and demise of the Concorde, and today's flyers are stuck traveling at boring subsonic cruise speeds of around 600 miles per hour. A trip from LA to New York takes an agonizing five and a half hours.
Boom Technology , based in Denver, Colorado, is building a jet that could fly around 50 people at Mach 2.2, or 1,452 mph, more than twice the speed of sound. Nevada's Aerion Corporation is making a pointy-nosed business jet, good for Mach 1.5. Both want to make their first deliveries by 2023.
NASA and Lockheed Martin are working on a Low Boom Flight Demonstrator to show that the thundering sound that shadowed the Concorde—and prevented flights over land—can be minimized. That plane may one day get an X designation, labeling it as the latest in a long line of experimental aircraft. It's a fitting callback to the very first X plane.
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