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14. March 2021
by Varun Sharma
Boston-based Spike Aerospace has announced that its S-512 supersonic business jet will start test flights in 2022 and will begin flying passengers in 2028.
The S-512 – which will retail for around US$100 million – will be capable of flying at Mach 1.6 (2,000 kilometres per hour) meaning that a flight from New York to London would take around three and half hours, London to Dubai in three hours and to Hong Kong in just over 5 ½ hours.
Spike Aerospace says: ‘The S-512 will be the fastest civilian aircraft available, saving passengers hours of flight time on every trip and providing an unparalleled experience en route. Air travel will never be the same.’
Russia’s failed Tupolev Tu-144 aircraft aside, the joint Anglo-French venture - Concorde - was the only supersonic aircraft fleet that was a commercial success. It entered service in 1976 and flew for 27 years. The 14 aircraft fleet – shared equally between British Airways and Air France could seat between 92 and 128 passengers and flew to Mach 2.04 (2,200 kilometres per hour at cruise altitude). Concorde’s main operational issue was that due to the intensity of the sonic boom created when it hit Mach 1, it could only fly supersonic over oceans. New York to London and New York to Paris were the only routes that warranted regular services.
The S-512 will offer its ‘proprietary Quiet Supersonic Flight Technology’ meaning that at Mach 1 the “boom” will be more of a loud “clap”. Spike Aerospace boasts that its aircraft will be a world-beater when it comes to fuel economy and the impact on the environment.
The private jet will be able to seat between a dozen and 18 passengers and the company has released superb computer-generated images of what the customisable interior of the aircraft could look like. It will include ‘windowless Multiplex Digital technology’ – full-length high-definition screens instead of windows that could display films, presentations or just sky & clouds. By eliminating traditional windows, Spikes says that the cabin will offer ‘unprecedented noise reduction and superior strength for quiet, serene flights’.
The race is one to produce the next generation of supersonic private jets. NetJets has reportedly ordered 20 of US-based Aerion Corporation’s US$120 million aircraft - with production of the AS2 set to commence next year.