At Aerion Supersonic, having engineers with heads in the clouds isn’t only tolerated, it’s encouraged. Designing the world’s first privately built Supersonic Business Jet (SBJ), the AS2, takes the sort of imagination and ability to think outside the box the average aerospace engineer may not be able to handle.

But for every moment our engineering team devotes to taking our new supersonic jet to market and bringing the world closer together, other members of Aerion have their thoughts much more down to Earth — in fact, below ground level. To achieve Aerion’s goals of being the first carbon-neutral aircraft company in the world, we’ve devoted a portion of our organization’s considerable talents to the subject of carbon removal.

Carbon Removal is an incredibly important part of ensuring the AS2 can travel at speeds above 1,000 mph — without causing environmental harm. Aerion’s green speed initiative involves managing the carbon our planes emit and utilizing fuels of the future to decrease the mark we leave on our world.

As the World Resources Institute explains, “Carbon removal strategies remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it through various means, such as in soils, trees, underground reservoirs, rocks, the ocean and even products like concrete and carbon fiber.” Carbon removal solutions capture and lock away atmospheric carbon to help tackle climate change. Many industries are difficult to decarbonize or may take a long time to reach carbon neutrality, but carbon removal can actively compensate for these sectors by capturing carbon emissions from the air, including the emissions of generations past that remain trapped in the atmosphere.

Aerion is tackling carbon removal from several angles, some more down-to-Earth. For instance, the planet itself possesses a fantastic carbon removal system Aerion fully supports — the growth of trees. Aerion will aid this natural carbon capture system through the Aerion Foundation, which has committed to planting 100 million trees by 2036. Each tree will hungrily absorb carbon as it contributes to forest growth.

Planting trees isn’t the only plan for carbon removal Aerion is working on. Aerion is teaming up with world-leading experts at Carbon Engineering (CE) to investigate Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology. CE’s innovative DAC process captures carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere so it can be permanently sequestered deep underground or turned into the fuel of tomorrow.

Here’s how this works. CE’s DAC technology is paired with geological storage to capture and permanently sequester carbon under the Earth. Carbon is captured from the air using large tower structures and a series of chemical reactions. It is then compressed into a fluid almost as dense as water, and injected under the ground into porous rock with an impermeable rock layer above acting as a barrier. To explain this in un-scientific terms, imagine liquid carbon injected into a sponge that is then locked away in a Tupperware container. This carbon will be safely stored in the Earth for potentially millions of years.

But Aerion’s partnership with CE is focused on an even more interesting idea — the potential for environmentally-friendly fuels. CE and Aerion share a vision of the AS2 SBJ powered by clean fuels that provide all of the power and none of the emissions. CE’s answer to this lofty goal is found in its AIR TO FUELSTM methodology. The process begins with CE’s Direct Air Capture technology empowering the capture of carbon from air. Then, instead of injecting it into the ground, it becomes the raw material for synthetic fuels that essentially are much cleaner versions of the hydrocarbons burned today in our jets.

Steve Oldham, CEO of CE, explained the future of fuel this way: “Our DAC technology captures yesterday’s emitted CO2 and converts it into fuel. When used in any vehicle, the carbon is returned to the atmosphere as CO2; however, the process then captures it again to make more fuel. So, we continually re-use existing CO2, and little or no new carbon emissions are created. This provides a way to decarbonize sectors of transportation that are difficult to electrify and that require the high energy density of liquid fuels.”

Aerion is proud to partner with CE to harness this powerful source of environmentally friendly fuel for the AS2 SBJ. To put it another way, tomorrow’s fuel for the AS2 will come from today’s fuel, captured and refined into a pure-burning synthetic fuel. This disruptive technology is further proof of Aerion’s commitment to green speed — supersonic flight that is as environmentally-friendly as it is fast.

If you would like to learn more about our company and our innovative approach to supersonic flight, please read our profile in Forbes or visit aerionsupersonic.com.

When you think about NASA, what pops into your head? For most people, it’s rocket ships, spacecraft, and mankind’s exploration of the universe. It’s a reasonable answer. The Apollo Program was a pinnacle of engineering and design, inspiring multiple generations of aerospace professionals — including the Aerion team. Compelled to watch every space launch as a child, our CEO Tom Vice, calls the Apollo-era NASA “incredible; filled with courageous people who showed what can happen when we take risks to benefit humanity.”

Yet, many people forget the “A” in NASA also stands for aeronautics, and it is this focus on flight closer to the Earth that has led the world’s leading aerospace agency to form an exciting new partnership with Aerion Supersonic.

NASA is keenly interested in the future of supersonic flight. As Aerion works towards finalizing the design and production of the AS2® Supersonic Business Jet (SBJ), the agency has been hard at work on its own new supersonic jet, the X-59. This experimental aircraft will act as a testbed for NASA’s research on supersonic airframes and equipment.

But Aerion and the NASA Langley Research Center have set their sights on far faster aircraft than the AS2® and the X-59. Aerion and the Langley Research Center are bringing together their considerable talents to conduct a joint R&D study with a singular focus: accelerating commercialization of ultra-high-speed (or “high-Mach”) and supersonic flight to accelerate point-to-point travel for those of us who don’t get from place to place via fighter jets.

As compared to the subsonic jets of today, the AS2® SBJ is already a high-speed aircraft that will cruise to destinations at speeds above Mach 1 (almost 1,000mph) while staying whisper quiet, thanks to Boomless Cruise technology. But the joint study with NASA will focus on next generation technology to enable “high Mach” cruising in the range of Mach 3 to Mach 5, approaching hypersonic flight.

Though seemingly out of this world, Aerion’s partnership with NASA didn’t come out of nowhere. In fact, the company has worked with the agency on supersonic flight technology in a relationship stretching back to 2012. The expansion of this partnership promises to generate valuable data and technology research for both Aerion and NASA.

Vice recently commented on the collaboration, saying: “At Aerion, our vision is to build a future where humanity can travel between any two points on our planet within three hours. This partnership enables the development of technologies that will help realize such ultra-high-speed point-to-point global mobility solutions.” He added, “This endeavor will also improve United States’ competitiveness in efforts to produce technically feasible and commercially viable passenger aircraft for high Mach point-to-point travel.”

In the interim, the Langley Research Center and Aerion will work together to study the special challenges airplanes experience when cruising at high Mach speeds. The teams will explore the suitability of different propulsion systems and thermal management technologies designed to handle travel at such high speeds. The research group will also focus on integrated power systems and cabin technology. After all, it isn’t useful to be able to fly at Mach 5 if you need to wear a high-tech flight suit just to survive the trip.

Ultimately, this research is critical to Aerion’s goal of bringing the world closer together. As Carl Sagan notes in his famous book Pale Blue Dot, and as NASA proves with every launch, borders aren’t visible from space. They also start to blur when supersonic air travel shortens the distance between people. Or as Vice explained in a recent Forbes profile, “When all of us can get to any location on Earth within three hours, we can build empathy and connections across cultures, something we sorely need as a species.”

As Aerion enters the pre-production phase with the AS2® SBJ, its collaboration with NASA will enhance the work already underway on the company’s next generation, high-Mach passenger jet, the AS3™. This is another key step in maintaining Aerion’s focus on sustainability whilst shortening travel times to bring the world and its citizens closer together.

It’s no secret airlines cater to their most affluent customers, from showers and spas 39,000 feet into the sky to expanded business class seating. But what if they could go beyond these luxuries, offering something truly special — and not just to the rich? Equipped with a fleet of supersonic jets from Aerion Supersonic, airlines can soon defy passengers’ wildest expectations. How? By giving them back hours on the ground they would otherwise spend in the air. After all, there is no greater extravagance than returning time to the rushed.

At present, the airline industry’s innovations primarily center on comfort. Lufthansa’s latest take on the business class concept, debuting this year in the airline’s Boeing 777-9 aircraft, provides passengers with enough space the cabin could easily be mistaken for a small apartment in New York City. Luxury Travel Magazine calls it an “incomparably upscale, healthy and relaxing flight experience.”

Of course, many other airlines are also in the race to impress customers with high-class offerings. But contemporary luxury travel doesn’t end with the size and configuration of the passenger’s seat. Airlines also compete to provide their clientele with amenities kits featuring the finest brands on Earth. For example, Emirates Airlines provides its first-class passengers a case containing extravagant products by Bulgari, including perfume.

Yet for all the allure of the major airlines’ seating configurations and amenities, they are still not providing passengers with the ultimate flying experience. This can only be achieved with Aerion Supersonic’s AS2 Supersonic Business Jet (SBJ). No matter how impressive the accommodations or service on a subsonic jet, it can never provide the true benefit of a supersonic jet — namely, the ability to cruise at speeds over 1,000 mph, reaching destinations many hours earlier than conventional travel.

Airlines would do well to imagine the ability to offer this experience to customers. Passengers will delight in added time to spend with family and friends, or advancing their business interests, rather than enjoy the quality of designer soap. This is the promise of supersonic travel.

Still, it should be noted, Aerion believes there needn’t be a tradeoff between comfort and speed. Yes, the AS2 SBJ is the supersonic private jet that can transport customers to their destinations in record times, but those moments in the air can very much unfold enjoyably for passengers.

Our approach to luxury at supersonic speeds follows several basic tenets. First, each supersonic plane’s interior is designed to spec. Also, the AS2 breaks new ground in multiple ways, beginning with interior design. Our approach is to start with a blank sheet of paper. Our team then incorporates as much flexibility and customization into the process as possible. As a result, customers have a seemingly endless amount of options when generating a unique cabin to match their lifestyle. The subsequent aesthetic comes to life using the highest quality materials in our production facilities. Just think: why should your flying experience be based on someone else’s definition of luxury?

At present, economic conditions suggest only a small percentage of even the most affluent travelers are in the market for a private jet. Over time, however, SBJs will become accessible to more flyers. Consider, for example the VCR, the mainstay of every family’s consumer electronics in the 1980s and well into the 90s. When Sony launched the first Betamax VCR in 1977, it carried a price tag of $2,295. (That’s more than $10,000 in 2020 dollars, far from the affordable device they became in just a few short years.)

The AS2 supersonic jet isn’t likely to immediately become a household item like the VCR. However, there are ways a broader segment of the population could experience supersonic flight sooner rather than later. A forward-thinking airline could build a fleet of AS2 SBJs to offer premium service along busy routes. (Also, since we build interiors to spec, the airline can ensure their passengers experience their brand exactly how they intend.)

Certainly, some affluent passengers will be satisfied with existing first-class travel, but a considerable (and ever growing) segment will be eager to embrace the joy of supersonic flight — especially, when they learn the good news. Forget “low boom” supersonic flight. Aerion offers super-silent flight, featuring our “Boomless Cruise” technology and efficient GE Affinity supersonic engines. When the SBJ passes overhead people below will never experience a window-rattling sonic boom. Plus, it’s whisper-quiet for those in the cabin, too.

But we saved the best for last. Aerion is the first aircraft manufacturer to commit to carbon neutrality. This means the AS2 will not only carry passengers at incredible speeds — but do so with a negative carbon footprint.

Ultimately, Aerion Supersonic is revolutionizing flight by bringing passengers supersonic travel. Our supersonic jet, the AS2, is safe, quiet, environmentally friendly, and delivers a luxurious experience.

Aerion Supersonic recently announced it has selected Melbourne, Florida, in the heart of the historic Space Coast, as the home for Aerion Park, our new headquarters campus. Florida is a natural home for Aerion, not only for its historical role in the space race, but also for being the epicenter of a new boom in aerospace innovation.

Aerion Park is entering the development phase on 110 acres of land located near Melbourne Orlando International Airport (MLB). State of the art facilities will include around 2,000,000 sq. ft. of building space, along with taxiways and other ground support features for the AS2 and future supersonic and hypersonic aircraft built at the facility. Aerion Park represents a capital investment of $300 million for construction, machinery, and equipment. We plan to employ 675 people in a wide variety of manufacturing and high-tech roles.

We would like to explain why we are thrilled by the role Aerion Park will play in the future of Aerion Supersonic. In short, we are building a world-class aerospace design, research, manufacturing, and testing campus dedicated to one goal — bringing the world closer together through the power of faster and sustainable point-to-point travel. Aerion Park will be the home of the AS2 supersonic jet, but the AS2 is just the beginning of our important work.

And yet, a common question posed to Aerion’s senior management is “Why build a new campus? Why not just take over an existing facility?” The answer is simple. Aerion is a new company built from the ground up to support advances in supersonic aircraft and to do so in the most environmentally sustainable way. The key to accomplishing this goal is not only a new facility, but one staffed with the rich and diverse workforce of Florida’s Space Coast.

One of the most important features of Aerion Park is it will not just be a manufacturing facility. Every step of the process, from design to training flight crew, will occur in one place, creating efficiencies and process advancements. This approach harkens back to Henry Ford’s River Rouge Complex, which integrated every aspect of automobile manufacturing into one Detroit campus. At Aerion Park, we’ll take the dreams of our engineers, and turn them into supersonic jets to change the world.

To put some perspective on the scope of our operations at Aerion Park, consider the key features located on campus that will be in place to accommodate research, design, build, and maintenance of the company’s supersonic aircraft and future hypersonic derivatives. Additionally, flanking the main site will be a new Aerion Customer Experience Center spread over 22 acres, to which customers will be able to taxi direct from Orlando Melbourne International airport, directly linked by taxiway. Aerion Park will also serve as the company’s design center.

Of course, Aerion Park will also embrace our company’s strong environmental ethic. By building a state-of-the-art campus from scratch, we can ensure the design fits our commitment to sustainability. Our facilities will be built with recycled and locally sourced materials, wherever applicable. We will also look to embrace innovations such as environmentally-friendly concrete for our buildings, as traditional concrete is a major carbon emitter. Our buildings will reuse rainwater, and we are incorporating cutting-edge technologies, like solar panels integrated into window glass. For a high-tech design and manufacturing facility, power is a big concern, one we’re addressing with solar panels in multiple forms throughout the campus, including solar trees, providing shade for our parking lots. (Our goal is to run Aerion Park completely off sustainable energy generated onsite.)

Moving forward, we plan to publish updates as Aerion Park reaches key construction milestones. To learn more about our unique approach to design and manufacturing, supported by the latest AI and Big Data developments, you can read about us in Forbes. In the meantime, we will be hard at work on every aspect of this project, because the AS2 Supersonic Business Jet is slated to start production in 2023.

If you are as excited by Aerion Park, the AS2, and the future of supersonic flight as we are, we invite you to apply to join our team. Yes, we are already hiring in Florida! Even as Aerion Park is under construction. Stay tuned…

We Say It’s Coming Faster Than You Think

Your time is precious. So, why should you waste it traveling at subsonic speeds? At least that’s what we think at Aerion Supersonic. Committed to spurring true innovation in air travel, we are introducing the AS2 supersonic business jet (SBJ), the first civil supersonic aircraft to take to the skies since the Concorde’s final flight 17 years ago.

Although the AS2 will transport passengers between cities at more than 1,000 mph, we know that just being the fastest form of available travel is no longer enough. The discerning traveler also wants to reach their destination with minimal impact on the environment and the quality of life of those around them. Luckily, the AS2 is as environmentally conscious as it is fast.

As our culture becomes ever greener, travelers are thinking more and more about environmentally friendly transportation. But for many jets in the marketplace, this simply isn’t an option. The result is widespread mockery of environmentalism, evidenced by the Davos climate summit, the world’s largest gathering of private planes with more than 1,500 aircraft in attendance.

Is this the best we can do? Aerion isn’t so sure. Instead, we believe consumers needn’t have to choose between speed and luxury or being environmentally conscious. To this end, we are delivering on all three concerns in the form of the AS2, an SBJ disrupting the status quo.

And yet, the first thing many people think of when someone mentions supersonic flight is the sonic boom. The U.S. government tested Americans’ tolerance for sonic booms in Oklahoma City in the 1960s. Although many agreed they could live with the noise, the trials wreaked so much damage and bad PR they ultimately scuttled a generation’s worth of research into supersonic travel.

Without a doubt, sonic booms leave an indelible impact on the environment and the people on the ground. This is due not only to potential damage from the boom itself, but also via noise pollution. The AS2, on the other hand, completely sidesteps this problem with Aerion’s “Boomless Cruise” technology, designed to enable the plane to reach supersonic speeds without those on the ground paying the price. When utilizing the Boomless Cruise capability, the AS2 will exceed the speed of sound without a sonic boom striking the ground.

Accordingly, Aerion designed the AS2 to be the most environmentally friendly SBJ in the world. And yet an airplane can only be as friendly to the planet as its engines. This is why the AS2’s “green speed” is driven by the GE Affinity supersonic engine. The AS2 achieves breathtaking acceleration without the use of afterburners. (Side note: The Concorde was famous for its engine’s afterburners, which consumed fuel at an astonishing rate.)

By cutting out this technology of yesterday, Aerion has dramatically improved the environmental impact of every AS2 flight. Nonetheless, every engine still requires fuel. That’s why Aerion crafted its SBJ with the ability to accept 100% biofuels, instead of going halfway to green with blended fuels. Our engines and fuel systems will ensure your flight is luxurious and amazingly quick, but without harming the environment we care so deeply about.

We have also agreed to offset all of our customer’s carbon emissions, regardless of the type of fuel they use for their flights. This commitment, along with the AS2’s ability to utilize 100% synthetic fuels, creates the opportunity for operations of the AS2 to be carbon negative. No other manufacturer can make that commitment. We already have.

Even so, the entire Aerion team is not merely content with establishing new standards for the aircraft industry. For years, we have set out to reimagine our industry’s ideas of what’s even possible.

These may sound like bold claims, but our unprecedented times require far more than mere business as usual. As a result, Aerion Supersonic is on a mission to bring supersonic flight back to the globe. To this end, the AS2 SBJ enables unbelievable speed to afford you more time to do what you care most about in life. Even better, high speed, coupled with true luxury, won’t come at a cost to our environment. Not when you are flying on Aerion, the first aircraft manufacturer to commit to carbon neutrality throughout its operations.

 

Aerion’s AS2 supersonic business jet (SBJ), the first privately-designed supersonic airplane in history, is taking the next major step towards flying passengers in quiet luxury at speeds well above 1,000 mph. The AS2 is filled with state-of-the-art technology and engineering, but to make this next leap, it will utilize technology dating back to 1871 — the wind tunnel.

Up to this point, the new supersonic jet’s performance has been modeled using special aerodynamic optimization tools developed in-house and run on scalable cloud computing technology to provide thousands of data points with incredible detail on how subsonic, transonic, and supersonic flight each impact the AS2’s airframe.

As Aerion EVP Alex Egeler explains, “Our Aerion Technologies design optimization process is built from a combination of NASA-developed analysis CFD software, commercial tools and our own internal framework to be highly scalable. This flexible framework allows us to simulate millions of parametric design scenarios on the cloud and determine robust solutions — all in the virtual world at a speed previously unseen in business jet development.”

You may be wondering why an innovative company like Aerion, using today’s most powerful technology to bring us closer together through the power of supersonic flight, would need to incorporate a relatively ancient technology like wind tunnel testing. But to build supersonic jets to Aerion’s exacting standards, such testing is unavoidable.

Aerion’s Director, System Test and Evaluation, Bob Lewis, explains: “While the onset of increasingly sophisticated computer modelling technology has greatly enhanced aerospace design, wind tunnel testing remains a key component in the development cycle. Certain aspects of aircraft design remain difficult to fully model virtually and still require validation through wind tunnel testing. We are working with the world’s best wind tunnel model builders and the global leaders in wind tunnel technology to validate our virtual findings and ensure the AS2 design exceeds expectations.”

With such validation in mind, wind tunnel testing puts scale models of airplanes to the test in a variety of lab-controlled conditions and speeds. Although the general principle of wind tunnel testing is the same, today’s test labs are a far cry from the rudimentary wind tunnel used by the Wright Brothers in Dayton, Ohio.

Aerion has recently created two models for wind tunnel tests. The company partnered with Tri Models Inc. of Huntington Beach, California, to build a low-speed model with a nine-foot wingspan. The low speed tests will be completed in Georgia during the month of October. By the way, don’t let the name fool you — the low speed tests will simulate speeds of less than 1 Mach.

The smaller high-speed model, on the other hand, is being built by the Dutch firm NLR which will be tested in France by aeronautical experts ONERA. (It should be noted, France has a rich history of wind tunnel testing since the early 1900’s, when Gustave Eiffel set up his first wind tunnel near the foot of the tower bearing his name.)

ONERA’s testing will reach speeds the AS2 will never fly passengers at but testing the supersonic jet’s design far beyond its flight profile will produce a wealth of crucial data for the team.

The wind tunnel testing held in Georgia and France will also provide Aerion’s team with a wide range of real-world data. It is expected to confirm the computer models in some ways but provide areas for future refinement in others. All of this vital information will come together in the AS2’s next step towards flying its first passenger, the Preliminary Design Review (PDR).

All of these efforts will coalesce in the next few key years. The company’s new supersonic airplane is on track to enter production in 2023. Accordingly, Aerion plans to build 300 planes in the first 10 years of production at the recently announced Aerion Park headquarters in Florida.

The state-of-the-art facility will not only be the production home of the supersonic business jet but will be used to complete the remainder of the design process. Last, as an important economic boon to the local and national economy, we are proud to announce Aerion’s new HQ on Florida’s Space Coast represents a $300 million investment, expected to create 675 high-paying jobs.

At Aerion Supersonic, our minds are always working on the future of global mobility. We envision a future where we will connect any two major cities in three hours. Or less. Our first step is supersonic flight. But sometimes, we must peer into the past to build for the future. One historical date comes to mind: October 24, 2003.

On this chilly October day, the Concorde made its final flight from New York City to London, ending almost 30 years of service as the only fleet of supersonic jets available to the public. The Concorde was the ultimate status symbol of luxury. Business moguls, movie stars, and jetsetter politicians (no pun intended) bragged about traveling faster between continents than any of their peers. The last flight’s passengers included Christie Brinkley, Joan Collins, and a private couple from Ohio that paid $60,000 on eBay for the ride.

The Concorde stands as a landmark work of aeronautical engineering. From its distinctive slanted droop-nose that lowered during takeoffs and landings to its iconic delta wing configuration, it’s impossible to mistake the Concorde for another plane. But for all the marvels of its design — a joint effort between the British and French governments — the Concorde faced challenges throughout its lifetime.

Although the Concorde broke barriers holding us back from supersonic travel, it was costly and difficult to operate. Its four afterburner engines came from the world of fighter aircraft. This means they brought the noise of fighter jets with them. The Concorde was also limited from flying over land due to its massive sonic booms, preventing it from carrying passengers to more far-flung destinations — and introducing a distracting level of noise into the cabin.

Those same engines also consumed an astonishing level of fuel. (A whopping 6,770 gallons an hour to be exact.) Unsurprisingly, the Concorde received the brunt of an environmental movement just taking shape as the aircraft took flight — via demonstrations at airports by protesters.

Yet, despite these challenges, the Concorde made a stunning mark on aviation and transportation culture. Its supersonic flight capabilities allowed passengers to spend less time traveling and more with the people they love, forging business deals, and fulfilling many of the other important reasons we journey.

It has been 17 years since the Concorde stopped flying, and no supersonic replacement has taken to the skies. Aerion believes time is the most precious commodity we have. So why are we willing to waste it onboard aircraft? As pointed out by the Telegraph, air travel takes longer today than it did in the 1960s. We believe there is a better way to venture — a return to supersonic flight with the Aerion AS2 Supersonic.

The AS2 will bring us to the supersonic skies in style. We’ve designed this supersonic business jet (SBJ) to honor the legacy of the Concorde, but to improve on it in every way. In short, the AS2 can be summarized this way: “Goodbye, noise pollution, hello, sustainability!”

Aerion has engineered every inch of the AS2 to suit the demands of today’s discerning flyers. We don’t believe “low boom” supersonic flight is enough, so we’ve moved all the way to super-silent flight, featuring our “Boomless Cruise” technology and incredibly efficient new GE Affinity supersonic engines — the first civil supersonic engines designed in 50 years.

But the AS2 isn’t just quiet for those on the ground. When our SBJ passes overhead people will never experience the window-rattling sonic boom popular culture has associated with supersonic flight — and it’s whisper-quiet for those in the cabin as well. Whether you want to stay productive or chat with a companion, you’ll hardly know you’re traveling at more than 1,000 mph.

On top of all the incredible technology Aerion Supersonic has built into the AS2 airframe, we are also proud of its sustainability. The Concorde was met by protesters, but our “green speed” will not damage the environment. In fact, Aerion is the first aircraft manufacturer to commit to carbon neutrality from first flight; a promise encompassing our aircraft and the operations in which it is built.

Ultimately, the AS2 has the potential to not only carry passengers at incredible speeds, but to do so with a negative carbon footprint. Aerion Supersonic believes it is time to disrupt travel. And the AS2 supersonic business jet is the aircraft that will change how we journey through the skies, giving us time back for what matters most.

Humanity is confronting the most extraordinary crisis our generation has ever seen. We are being challenged with the simultaneous impacts from a global health crisis, as coronavirus has rapidly spread across both our country and our world, and a devastating financial crisis, not just to the global markets but also to the economic impacts being felt around every kitchen table.

As a company, we are taking the necessary actions to navigate this crisis. We aren’t just going to hunker down and weather this storm; instead we will look forward to a brighter tomorrow. We remain steadfast in our resolve to have a profound impact on our world. We will emerge stronger.

Ingenuity and courage will defeat this virus, our financial markets will recover, and we will get people back to work. It will not be easy – in fact, it will be excruciatingly hard. However, I deeply believe that the greatest leaders and innovators are born out of times like these. We will persevere. We will beat this. And when we do, human connections will be more important than ever; human connections will rebuild our world.

Aerion is fundamentally disrupting the mobility and transportation market. We are built on the incredible vision of our founders. Dr. Richard Tracy is a technical pioneer and the godfather of Aerion. He created the original inspiration for Aerion and continues working with us today on our product roadmap and technologies of the future. Robert Bass is focused on an unwavering commitment to make Aerion and the AS2 successful. His interest in the technical details and willingness to support the team in countless ways drives us to be our very best. Both leaders genuinely love this company, people and the mission.

Our goals are far greater than just getting somewhere faster. As part of our mission to bring supersonic mobility to the world, we are committed to addressing climate change in aviation and will work hard to be part of the solution to reverse it. We take environmental stewardship very seriously and have a plan for carbon-neutral operations from flight one. Aerion’s AS2 will be the first supersonic aircraft designed with the ability to accept 100% synthetic fuel and reach supersonic without an afterburner. We’re so committed to driving change that we will share our research on biofuels with the world.

Over the last two years, Aerion’s world class team has seen tremendous growth. Developing the next generation of supersonic aircraft requires incredibly talented aerodynamicists, configuration engineers, software tool designers, manufactures and support staff. We have brought together some of the most talented professionals from aerospace, technology, automotive and defense industries. Many have left world-renowned and innovative start-up organizations, uprooting family and relocating to take a chance on building something special at Aerion. The dedication and innovative spirit of our team is incredible. I am so very proud of the women and men of our company. This is our eighth week working virtually. Our team is safe and healthy, but we miss one another.

Much of 2019 was focused on aligning with key suppliers who bring world class expertise to the AS2. Boeing, GE, Spirit, Aernnova, GKN, Safran, and Potez have records of excellence in aerospace. These suppliers are working with Aerion’s engineers and designers on a daily basis, creating breakthroughs like the exceedingly efficient GE Affinity supersonic engine and the AS2’s ingenious Boomless Cruise™ technology. The AS2 will be the first commercial aircraft to fly at supersonic speeds over land with virtually no indication on the ground. We have built a global team that is rapidly maturing the AS2 from design concept to reality.

Flexjet, our launch customer has boldly supported Aerion with a $2.6 billion order for twenty of the first AS2 aircraft. They have continued to be a staunch supporter of the program and share our passion for sustainable supersonics, challenging the status quo of the industry. Kenn Ricci and the Flexjet team are fellow visionaries and pioneers.

While working virtually, we have released the design of our new aircraft and announced our new home, Aerion Park in Melbourne, Florida. Our new global headquarters will be more than a design and manufacturing facility – it will be an environmentally responsible center that our team and the local community will be proud of, an integrated campus for research, design, manufacturing and support that will generate at least 675 jobs in the Space Coast and Brevard county.

Our vision and our purpose have not changed. We will hold our heads high, act always with integrity and empathy, and remain compassionate, respectful and committed. We will sacrifice in the short term in order to achieve our long-term purpose. High speed travel is not for a select few. While we have started with the business jet market, we are rapidly expanding to defense and commercial markets. Applying our company’s technologies, innovations, and know-how to support the women and men in uniform, who put their lives on the line to protect freedom around the world, is not only a privilege, it is a duty.

The AS2 is just the first in a family of Aerion Supersonic aircraft. We envision disruptive, innovative products in every segment of aviation, challenging an industry that hasn’t seen this kind of innovation in over 50 years. New technologies are invariably born in niche markets first, providing the basis for more widespread adoption. Aerion’s endeavor opens the world to the widespread adoption of new, high speed, sustainable innovation.

Supersonic is back. So is innovation in global mobility. Join us and change the world.

“The desire to fly is an idea handed down to us by our ancestors who, in their grueling travels across trackless lands in prehistoric times, looked enviously on the birds soaring freely through space, at full speed, above all obstacles, on the infinite highway of the air.”

– Wilbur Wright

We all have hobbies outside of work, and at Aerion, it’s no surprise that traveling, learning more about aviation, and flying planes tend to be some of the more popular hobbies among our employees. Across departments, we have over 20 certified pilots and pilots in training. To celebrate World Pilot’s Day this weekend, we asked a few of them to share a bit about their experience flying – here’s what they had to say:

Jacob Cooper, Research/Aerodynamics Engineer

What is your favorite aircraft that you have flown?

I’ve only flown Cessna 172’s.

What motivated you to become a pilot?

Just the simple love of flight.

What is your favorite memory while flying?

Flying over my grandparent’s lake house right after I got my license and waving to them with the wingtips of the airplane.

John Wait, Propulsion Engineer

What is your favorite aircraft that you have flown?

The last one I flew – the J3 Piper Club. I love the experience of flying a plane I have not flown before.

What motivated you to become a pilot?

It was a desire for as long as I can remember. I finally rationalized flight training a year before my kid’s tuition bills would start.

What is your favorite memory while flying?

Doing touch-and-gos in the strong crosswind generated by the approaching dust storm. I’d nail a banked one wheel landing, then abort one, nail one, then abort one, then the tower told me they wanted their airplane in the hangar now or I would never fly it again. As I turned onto the taxiway two people grabbed my wing tips and walked me to the open hangar door. I got a dressing down from the Chief Pilot…but he had a smile on his face the whole time. It’s definitely not the time I ran out of fuel at 7,000 feet.

Mike Kerho, Senior Aerodynamics Engineer

What is your favorite aircraft that you have flown?

My favorite aircraft to fly has been a 1946 Piper J-3 Cub.

What motivated you to become a pilot?

I’ve always been fascinated with flight. I got my license when I was 18. I’ve spent the better part of 35 years studying it, but it still seems like magic.

What is your favorite memory while flying?

My favorite flying memories are from taking my family and friends up, especially for aerobatics.

Masa Hirvonen, Technical Director, Flight Control Systems

What is your favorite aircraft that you have flown?

Some of my favorite airplanes are Beechcraft Bonanzas and Barons and of course, my currently co-owned CubCrafters SportCub. Probably the most exotic aircraft I have flown is Antonov AN-2, but the most favorite airplane? Any one I can get hold of and fly…!

What other types of aircrafts have you flown?

I am a commercial pilot (ASEL, AMEL) and a flight instructor (CFI, CFII, MEI, AGI) with an instrument rating. I have flown roughly 40 different flying contraptions from gliders to turbine twins since I started flying in Finland when I was 15 years old (over 30 years ago).

Roger Noble, Vice President, Sales

What is your favorite aircraft that you have flown?

My favorite aircraft is the McDonnell Douglas F4-E “Phantom II” Supersonic Fighter. I flew the Phantom from 1985-1992 during USAF Active Duty and have 1,300+ flight hours and 1,000+ Sorties. The Phantom used two GE Afterburning Engines and could fly close to Mach 2.0. The model I flew had both a Dogfighting Air-To-Air Combat role as well as an Air-To-Ground Combat ordinance delivery role.

How much have you flown?

I have about 9,000 hours total flight time. It’s a passion without any doubt.

David Ambrose, Structural Design Lead

What is your favorite aircraft that you have flown?

My RV-8A. It’s a 2 seat (tandem) kit airplane that cruises at 155kts while only burning 7.6 gallons per hour of fuel and it is also capable of doing aerobatics.

What motivated you to become a pilot?

My father was a pilot and had a lot of books on flying laying around so I just started reading them at a young age. I taught myself how to use his Jeppesen E6-b flight computer (also known as the “Wiz Wheel” or “Flight Confuser”) in the 6th grade and would do time/speed/distance calculations on car trips. Kids back then were into building plastic models of cars and airplanes so I did a lot of that and then RC planes and then started taking flying lessons at Cleveland Hopkins airport when I was 15.

What is your favorite memory while flying?

I have a few – my first solo flight in a Cessna 152 at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport flying off a grass runway that no longer exists (I rode my bike to get to the flying lesson), flying from CA to Oshkosh for the big week long EAA AirVenture airshow, and taking my wife for her first ride in our RV-8A homebuilt airplane after 10 years of building it.

Doug Coleman, General Counsel, EVP, Governance and Compliance

What is your favorite aircraft that you have flown?

1942 Waco UPF-7.

What motivated you to become a pilot?

I wanted to be an airline pilot!

What is your favorite memory while flying?

#1 – Flying with my wife to a grass strip (3W3) on the Chesapeake Bay to pick crabs on our first date.
#2 – Skipping law school classes to fly traffic reports for WNNK-104 in Harrisburg PA.

Max Warden, Principal Engineer

What is your favorite aircraft that you have flown?

Bellanca Citabria for just boring holes in the sky, Aerostar 601 for just get’n up and going.

What motivated you to become a pilot?

The “want” to be a Navy Pilot…but really my Dad.

What is your favorite memory while flying?

Flying my first girlfriend to Santa Paula and renting a ’57 Chevy to tour the town of Solvang – age 17.

Jeremy Wills, Avionics Lead Engineer

What is your favorite aircraft that you have flown?

The vast majority of my flying time is in Cessna 152s. I got checked out on a 172 once and it felt like I was flying a rocket ship.

What motivated you to become a pilot?

I have loved aircraft for as long as I can remember. Early in my engineering career the opportunity came up to take flying lessons, and have work pay for part of it, and I jumped at the chance.

What is your favorite memory while flying?

The feeling of accomplishment after first solo and then later passing my FAA check ride. It was impossible to get the smile off my face.

Here at Aerion, we’re committed to designing a method of travel that is not only faster but also addresses the climate crisis head on.

We strongly believe we can transform the future of aviation without compromising the future of the planet. Being kind to our planet is deeply ingrained in Aerion’s ethos. Speed and the protection of our environment are not mutually exclusive. In fact, our environmental commitment extends to our company and our products. As we’re creating a new paradigm in the aerospace industry that supports humanity’s desire for more face-to-face communication – a desire ever more clear as that connection is cut off during the COVID-19 crisis – we also understand the environmental challenges historically associated with the development and operation of supersonic aircraft. At the same time, we believe that any innovation – no matter how beneficial to mankind – must also protect the environment for future generations. Sustainable supersonic travel is possible. But it requires new levels of innovation, and Aerion is committed to innovating without compromise.

Aerion’s approach is different: We have committed from day one to have neutral carbon emissions. This is not a future goal, but something that is happening right now.

We’re going to achieve that goal using a balanced, holistic approach that includes our facilities, design, manufacturing, customer operations and even the retirement of the aircraft at the end of its useful life.

We believe that with innovation, sustainable supersonic travel is possible.

A huge part of what will make the AS2 sustainable is the Affinity engine.

Aerion has worked with GE to create the first modern, non-afterburning, supersonic jet engine designed to be civil-certified. The last civil-certified supersonic engine was the Concorde’s Rolls-Royce Olympus, designed and built more than five decades ago. As you know, engine technology has significantly advanced since then.

In addition to incorporating new materials and components that specifically address not only propulsion performance but also emissions and noise, the Affinity engine is also specified for use with 100 percent synthetic fuels. By operating on pure synthetic fuel, lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions are reduced by up to 80%.

Another issue that has held up supersonic aviation in the past is the sonic boom, which we’re addressing with our Boomless Cruise™ technology.

Boomless Cruise™ will enable the AS2 to fly at low supersonic speeds while preventing its sonic boom from reaching the surface of the earth. The phenomenon underlying Boomless Cruise™ has been studied for over six decades. Effectively, at low supersonic speeds, the sonic boom pressure wave can encounter a layer in the lower atmosphere (known as the caustic layer) that acts much like a reflective surface and causes the pressure wave to refract or bend away from that layer. We all see strong examples of refraction daily. When the sun or the moon are low on the horizon, they appear much larger than when they are directly overhead. This is caused by the light waves bending as they pass through the atmosphere at shallow angles.

A similar situation occurs with sonic booms. The altitude at which the caustic layer occurs is strongly related to the temperature profile of the atmosphere and the presence of any temperature inversion layers that may exist in the air beneath a supersonic airplane. Why is it temperature dependent? Because the main factor that causes variations in the atmospheric speed of sound is air temperature. By knowing what the atmospheric temperature profile is in the volume of air surrounding the aircraft as it flies along its flight plan, the caustic layer can be predicted, and with it, the maximum Mach number that an aircraft can fly such that its sonic boom refracts off the caustic layer. It’s also designed to have landing and take-off noise levels that are comparable to today’s modern, quieter subsonic commercial jets.

Sustainability doesn’t just come from the AS2 itself; it also comes down to manufacturing.

If we only focused on building sustainability into the AS2, we would be missing significant opportunities to further reduce our environmental footprint. When we say that sustainability is deeply ingrained in our ethos, we are addressing what it takes from beginning to end to create, sell and operate our aircraft – key characteristics of being good environmental stewards.

Let’s focus briefly on the manufacturing aspects. It starts with the facilities in which we will produce the aircraft. It embodies how the building is constructed, how we heat and cool the internal environment for our employees and for certain manufacturing processes that require climate control, the materials from which the aircraft is made, where those materials originated and how they were created. We have to pay attention to the manufacturing processes themselves and any chemicals that may be required. Those are just a few examples, and we plan to create an independently auditable trail to keep track of how well we are doing to minimize our footprint. In areas that require technologies that may have more significant environmental footprints, we will be seeking ways to balance their impact through thoughtful counter-balancing actions.

In addition to the sustainability elements from the manufacturing of the jet to the jet itself, we’re committed to plant 100 million trees by 2036 to counter-balance carbon emissions.

We have committed to offset all of the CO2 emissions from the operations of each and every AS2. Our 100,000,000-tree pledge is based on our total market forecast and projected fleet utilization rates over the entire lifecycle of the AS2. Our projections start by assuming the AS2’s operate on fossil-based jet fuels which means that as our customers use of synthetic fuel increases Aerion will be reducing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere through natural sequestration by these forests.

Our success will leverage teaming with a variety of organizations worldwide to create new forests through reforestation/afforestation programs, and projects based upon direct air capture carbon sequestration technologies. In order to manage this expansive program, Aerion is establishing a nonprofit foundation to evaluate, plan and oversee new projects on a continuing basis. The foundation will also be responsible for maintaining a continuing relationship with the various public and private entities that own the land where the forests are created in order to ensure the continuing health of the trees.