Aerion Supersonic moving global headquarters to Florida
World’s first privately built supersonic aircraft
The AS2 Supersonic Business Jet will be able to fly from New York to California in just over 3 hrs. -Courtesy Image by Aerion
By Tami Stevenson
Aerion Supersonic is slated to construct a new state-of-the-art campus – Aerion Park – in Melbourne, Florida. Aerion Park will form a new global headquarters and integrated campus for research, design, build and maintenance of the company’s supersonic aircraft. The new project involves a multi-year $300 million investment that is expected to generate at least 675 jobs in Florida by 2026, Governor Ron DeSantis announced Friday.
“We are building the next generation of high-speed transportation networks that will revolutionize global mobility without leaving a carbon footprint on our world,” said Tom Vice, Aerion Chairman, President & CEO. “Our AS2 business jet – the world’s first privately built supersonic aircraft – is the first stage in that exciting endeavor. Having evaluated a number of potential locations for our new home, we are excited to partner with Florida and the Melbourne community to create a sustainable supersonic future.”
Traveling faster than the speed of sound comes with its drawbacks. The Concorde, the only commercial passenger plane, owned by British Airways, to successfully achieve this ended its career in October of 2003. The Concorde was only able to fly over water because the sonic boom it created was too loud to travel over land. It was also very expensive to maintain and operate.
“The AS2 will be the first commercial aircraft to fly at supersonic speeds over land with no sonic boom reaching the ground, thanks to our Boomless Cruise™ technology, which is made possible through a combination of revolutionary aircraft design and an incredibly efficient supersonic engine from GE Aviation - the Affinity Engine. Boomless Cruise™ is possible at speeds approaching Mach 1.2 (around 1,000 mph) depending on atmospheric conditions,” Matthew Clarke, Aerion Senior Vice President (SVP) of global marketing and communications, told the Suwannee Valley Times in an email, Monday.
The company plans to target business markets in the beginning, with the jets seating 8 to 12 people. Plans are underway, however, for larger seating capacity planes in the near future.
“We believe speed and care for our environment do not need to be mutually exclusive and our aim is to prove this is possible.” According to their website, Aerion plans to be the first OEM to plan for truly carbon-neutral operations via carbon reduction strategies by designing aircraft with the ability to accept 100% biofuels (as opposed to blends).
Clarke continued, “We are starting with business aviation because we can close the business case by serving an existing market of customers that already pay a premium for speed. However, we have long-term plans to build an entire family of aircraft that will be available for a broad customer base. In doing so, in the immediate term we aim to bring supersonic flight back to aviation development and pave the way for more widespread adoption. Longer term we anticipate investing the proceeds of AS2 into derivative aircraft, including commercial variants which will ease the friction of travel and accelerate the overall journey.”
Aerion will break ground on the new campus later this year ahead of manufacturing of the AS2 business jet commencing in 2023. In addition to the 675 new jobs Aerion will bring to the state, Aerion Park is expected to attract key aerospace suppliers within the supersonic technology ecosystem to bring business to Florida, creating additional roles for scientists, designers, engineers and aircraft builders.
“This is a truly transformational project for Florida that changes the game both for high speed air transportation as well for advanced aerospace manufacturing in the state,” said Frank DiBello, President and CEO of Space Florida. “The decision to locate manufacturing of this technologically advanced supersonic flight vehicle here in Florida is a testament to the growing strength and global recognition of the importance of Florida as a world-leading aerospace state. Space Florida is pleased to have provided financing, structure and development assistance to this project.”
“The Space Coast has become a hub for the aviation and aerospace industry, and my administration continues to make it a priority to expand this high-wage and important business sector,” said Governor DeSantis. “We are thrilled that Aerion has selected Melbourne for its new global headquarters and look forward to the company’s success.”
The announcement of Aerion Supersonic’s integrated campus and long-term investment in Melbourne is a major win for a community looking to emerge from the economic consequences of the COVID-19 crisis.
Aerion has created what they call hyper-luxury and quiet so customers can enjoy their time in the air.
-Courtesy Image by Aerion