One could make the argument that the quest for supersonic transport began on October 14, 1947, when Chuck Yeager reached Mach 1.06 in the Bell X-1 (Rediess, 2012). Since the 1950s, dreamers have envisioned technological advancements, including supersonic transport, most of which failed to materialize (Cochrane, 2012).
Today, developers must ask the question, ‘Is a world, where the only commercial supersonic aircraft is retired (Candel, 2004), ready for a supersonic business jet?’ At least one company believes it is. Aerion Corporation plans to have a supersonic business jet (SBJ) ready for the market by 2021 (Martin, 2013). This SBJ, forecasted to carry 8 to 12 passengers up to 4,000 nautical miles, at speeds up to Mach 1.6 (Aerion, 2014) comes with a hefty price tag of $80 million per copy in 2007 dollars (McMillin, 2012), or an estimated $107.25 million by 2021 (OSU, 2014). To date, Aerion has received fifty letters of intent, accompanied by a $250,000 deposit (Doyle, 2014).
The limitations faced by potential supersonic transport aircraft are legion. The first hurdle to cross is the legal prohibition against civil supersonic flight that does not meet stage 2 noise limits (FAA, 2014). Aerion claims their design will meet the existing regulations for U.S. and international flight (FAA/UC, 2009). The legal prohibition against supersonic flight stemmed from the 1960s, protest against proposed supersonic transport (SST) aircraft (Anonymous, 1967) that killed the Boeing 2707 project (Kressner, 1968). The protests not only killed the American SST programs, but also limited U.S. Concorde operations to New York and Washington, DC (May, 1979).
In addition to the environment concerns due to noise, developers must a...
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...lin, M. (2012). Aerion makes progress on supersonic business jet. Retrieved from The Wichita Eagle: http://www.kansas.com/2012/11/21/2577066/aerion-makes-progress-on-supersonic.html
OSU. (2014). Individual year conversion factor tables. Retrieved from Oregon Statue University: Politcal Science: http://oregonstate.edu/cla/polisci/individual-year-conversion-factor-tables
Rediess, H. A. (2012). Flight dynamics and control: From the Douglas Skyrocket to the Space Shuttle. Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, 35(3), 721-731.
Tidd, J., & Bessant, J. (2009). Managing innovation: Integrating technological, market and organizational change. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons.
Werner-Westphal, C., Heinze, W., & Horst, P. (2008). Multidisciplinary integrated preliminary design applied to unconventional aircraft configurations. Journal of Aircraft, 45(2), 581-590.
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