'Near-hypersonic' 50-passenger jet nearing reality

A time when travellers spend more time at the airport than they do while in the air might not be too far away.

Aerion is working on a jet that could restart interest in supersonic travel. In late March the company released a first glimpse of its next aircraft the AS3 commercial airliner, which is targeting taking to the skies before the end of the decade.

The AS3 would completely change commercial flights, with the ability to fly between Los Angeles and Tokyo in less than three hours and capable of transporting up to 50 passengers.

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Aerion plans for the AS3 to incorporate revolutionary advances in technology to improve efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of supersonic flight.

Earlier this year, Aerion expanded its ongoing partnership with NASA’s Langley Research Center, with the intention of accelerating the realisation of commercial high-speed flight and faster point-to-point travel, specifically studying commercial flight in the Mach 3-5 range.

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“At Aerion, our vision is to build a future where humanity can travel between any two points on our planet within three hours, said Aerion chairman, president and chief executive Tom Vice.

“Supersonic flight is the starting point, but it is just that – the beginning.

“To truly revolutionise global mobility as we know it today, we must push the boundaries of what is possible.

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“The AS3 forms the next step in our long-term technology roadmap and will bring Aerion’s high Mach flight capability to a broader audience; we look forward to sharing more on our design later this year.”

The goal of faster point-to-point travel will begin with the launch of the AS2 supersonic business jet, which will go into production in 2023.

Designed to be inherently environmentally responsible from first flight, the AS2 is the first supersonic aircraft designed to be powered by 100 per cent engineered synthetic fuel and reach supersonic speeds without the need for an afterburner.

Would you be more likely to travel overseas if you had to spend less time in the air? Would you be nervous travelling at near-hypersonic speeds?

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Written by Ben



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