Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Supersonic biz jet in development

New York to Los Angeles in two hours? That's what they say.

We learn from the Aero-News Network that a supersonic business jet is in development:
Lockheed's "Skunk Works" has a knack... a knack for speed. Knowing this, Supersonic Aerospace International (SAI), a Nevada aviation consortium, has commissioned Lockheed to design a 12-pax, 130-ft-long, 1200 mph (that's Mach 1.8) speed demon that could make New York to LA in two hours.

Calling it the QSST, for quiet supersonic travel, SAI says it could be ready by 2013. The "quiet" in the name comes from design changes that SAI says will all but eliminate the sonic boom associated with supersonic flight.

Lockheed Skunk Works' Vice President Frank Cappuccio says the QSST incorporates "aerodynamic shaping" and "a patented inverted V-tail." These design innovations, and a little "Skunk Works" magic, should make the QSST's sonic boom less than a hundredth of what once was heard from the world's only other supersonic commercial aircraft, the Concorde.
Since the retirement of the Concorde, there has been no supersonic passenger travel anywhere in the world. The intention is to put the QSST to work where the Concorde left off.
One aviation analyst thinks available engines and noise are the biggest obstacles to supersonic business jet development. Bill Dane at Forecast International says companies don't want to invest in an aircraft only to face operational restrictions caused by noise. (Since you asked, SAI estimates its investment in the QSST will reach $2.5 billion - that's not chump change!) But the marketing team at SAI believes they've answered those issues with their proprietary QSST technology.
Companies in several other countries are pursuing the idea of a supersonic business jet as well.

Source: Lockheed To Help Develop Supersonic Bizjet -

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