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Tue, Jun 26, 2012

NASA-Supported Companies To Unveil New Supersonic BizJets At Farnborough

Projections Are For London-Sydney Flight In Four Hours

A consortium of companies working with NASA reportedly will take the wraps off their new SST concepts at the Farnborough Air Show next month. Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Gulfstream are all said to be collaborating with the space agency to build a suspersonic business jet that will travel from London, U.K., to Sydney, AU, a 12,000 mile trip, in just four hours.

Show executives say that the concepts for the airplanes will be "sketched out" at the show. The three companies working with NASA say they have managed to reduce the "sonic boom" created by supersonic flight to a "sonic puff or plop," as described by a Gulfstream engineer. The designs feature advanced composite materials and smaller fuselages which will allow the airplanes to fly nearly twice as fast as the Concorde, according to a report in the U.K. newspaper The Mail.

NASA wind tunnel tests show that the sonic boom can be nearly eliminated by using super-thin wings and hidden engines. The sonic boom was one of the reasons that Concorde was restricted from flying over much of the U.S., which many cite as a reason for it's lack of commercial success.

Another player in the supersonic business jet arena is Aerion, which has had its SBJ in development for several years. A Texas hedge fund trader has already put down 50 deposits of $200,000 each for the Aerion SBJ, though no dates for certification or delivery have been set.

But with several major companies apparently ready to unveil fairly concrete concepts, some are saying that the era of the supersonic business jet is finally on the horizon.

(Picutured: Lockheed Martin "Green Machine" artist's concept provided by NASA)

FMI: www.farnborough.com

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