Aerion

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Not to be confused with Aereon.
Aerion Corporation
Private
Industry Aerospace
Headquarters Reno, Nevada, USA
Key people
Robert Bass, President and Chairman; Brian Barents, Vice Chairman; Doug Nichols, CEO; Dr. Richard R. Tracy, CTO
Products supersonic business jet, natural laminar flow consulting
Website aerioncorp.com

Aerion Corporation is an American aerospace firm founded by Robert Bass and based in Reno, Nevada. Aerion continues research the group began more than 20 years ago, with the current focus on the design of a practical and efficient supersonic business jet employing patented natural laminar flow (NLF) technology, as well as application of this technology for subsonic and transonic aircraft through a wholly owned consultancy business named Aerion Technologies Corporation.

History[edit]

Aerion first design was the Aerion SBJ, a concept for a supersonic business jet capable of flight at speeds up to Mach 1.6, while also cruising efficiently just below the speed of sound (Mach .95 to .99) where necessary.[1] The firm is headed by several veterans of the aerospace and financial industries. The firm's name is derived from the mythical horse Areion, which belonged to Adrastus and was born to Demeter and Poseidon.[citation needed]

Execujet of Switzerland and Indigo Lyon are the firm's sales agents outside of North America.[2] 50 letters of intent have been taken, with deposits; each SBJ was priced at $80,000,000 in year 2007 dollars,[3] whereas Aerion expects the AS2 to cost $100 million.[4]

The Aerion SBJ’s key enabling technology, supersonic natural laminar flow, has been conclusively demonstrated in small scale transonic wind tunnel tests and in supersonic flight tests conducted in conjunction with NASA. While SBJ discussions continued with selected airframers, data from the Aerion-designed calibration fixture aboard a NASA F-15B in the summer of 2010[5] was used to guide the design of a second test surface flown during the first half of 2013.[6] The new test surface was designed to provide large extents of laminar flow and be shaped so boundary layer instabilities grow relatively slowly and smoothly. These characteristics should facilitate good boundary layer imaging of the roughness and step-height experiments performed in next phase. The experiments were intended to influence future laminar flow airfoil manufacturing standards for surface quality and assembly tolerances.[7][8][9][10]

In September 2014, Aerion announced a partnership with Airbus (mainly Airbus Defense)[11] to collaborate on designing the Aerion AS2, an updated replacement for the SBJ design, hoping for a market entry in 2021.[12] The switch from SBJ to AS2 happened due to customer demand.[4][13] Aerion intends to finance $3 billion of development, reducing risk for industry partners.[14][15]

Aerion believes in a viable business case despite the US ban on supersonic flight, whereas Gulfstream views the ban as prohibitive.[13]

Aerion Technologies Corporation[edit]

Increased demand from a variety of aircraft manufacturers for Aerion’s natural laminar flow expertise drove the company to launch Aerion Technologies Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary, in May 2011.[16][17][18] Aerion maintains that the same proprietary technologies and design tools that enable a practical SBJ also have subsonic and transonic applications. During the past 10 years, Aerion has developed an extensive portfolio of NLF test data and methods for optimizing its application to aircraft design, as well as assuring practical manufacturing and operational aspects. Aerion Technologies’ NLF technology and design tools may help airframers push speed and efficiency limits for next-generation civil and military aircraft. The company has signed consulting contracts with unnamed airframers.[19][20][21]

Leadership[edit]

Aerion’s board includes: Robert Bass, chairman of Aerion and president of investment group Keystone Group, LP; Brian E. Barents, vice chairman of Aerion and former president and CEO of Galaxy Aerospace and Learjet; Doug Nichols, chief executive officer of Aerion; Dr. Richard R. Tracy, Aerion’s chief technology officer and pioneer of the supersonic natural laminar wing concept; Michael L. Henderson, Aerion’s principal scientist and Boeing’s former program manager for high-speed civil transport; Robert Morse, a partner at Oak Hill Capital Management; and James Stewart, CEO of Mubadala Aerospace MRO Network. In addition, John Holding, previously Bombardier Aerospace’s executive vice president, Integrated Product Definition and Planning, is senior advisor to the company.[22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Aerion's SBJ enters phase two of development, European Business Air News, 12/1/05
  2. ^ Indigo Lyon Selected as Sales Representative for Aerion SBJ, BART International, 3/14/12
  3. ^ "NBAA: Aerion gets supersonic test results". Archived from the original on 1 November 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-18. 
  4. ^ a b "Aerion unveils larger, three engine supersonic business jet tailored to emerging global demand" Aerion, 19 May 2014. Accessed: 26 September 2014.
  5. ^ NBAA: Aerion gets supersonic test results, Flight International, 10/18/10
  6. ^ Supersonic Laminar Flow Tests Continue on NASA's F-15B, NASA, 05/22/13
  7. ^ Aerion Steps Up Testing for Supersonic Business Jet, Aviation International News, 05/14/12
  8. ^ Second Set of SBLT Tests Planned on NASA's F-15B, NASA, 05/15/12
  9. ^ Aerion Tests Further Efforts to Develop Supersonic Bizjet, Aviation International News, 10/29/12
  10. ^ Aerion makes progress on supersonic business jet, Wichita Eagle, 12/21/12
  11. ^ "Airbus Group teams up with Aerion" Leeham Co, 23 September 2014. Accessed: 26 September 2014.
  12. ^ Van Wagenen, Juliet. "Airbus and Aerion Collaborate to Develop Supersonic Business Jet, High-Performance Flight" Aviation Today, 22 September 2014. Accessed: 24 September 2014.
  13. ^ a b McMillin, Molly. "Need for speed drives efforts for supersonic business jet" The Wichita Eagle. Accessed: 28 September 2014.
  14. ^ McMillin, Molly. "Aerion Makes Design Changes In Supersonic Business Jet" The Wichita Eagle, 29 May 2014. Accessed: 26 September 2014.
  15. ^ Jeffrey, Colin. "Aerion's AS2 supersonic business jet gets extra engine and cabin space" GizMag, 20 May 2014. Accessed: 26 September 2014.
  16. ^ Want Laminar Flow? Talk to Aerion, Aviation Week, 5/16/11
  17. ^ Aerion to subsonic set: Go with the (natural laminar) flow, Aviation International News, 5/17/11
  18. ^ EBACE: Aerion seeks fresh revenue stream, Flight International, 5/16/11
  19. ^ Aerion’s tech subsidiary brings laminar flow to subsonics, Aviation International News, 10/10/11
  20. ^ NBAA: Aerion goes with laminar flow, Flight International, 10/11/11
  21. ^ NBAA: Aerion talks up transonic options as F-15 tests resume, Flight International, 10/29/12
  22. ^ Aerion Promotes Doug Nichols to CEO and Board member, Aero-News Network, 01/08/13

External links[edit]