It’s been nearly a dozen years since the last flight of the Concorde. For over a quarter century, the sleek and sexy Anglo-French airplane represented the jet set era of the the late 20th Century. Ernie Edwards, a veteran of the private jet industry thinks the next passenger supersonic flights are not that far away. Last week, the former Gulfstream, Cessna and Embraer boss joined Reno-based Aerion Corporation to assist in its bid to get us flying faster again. Before EBACE in Geneva later this month, he took the time to give ForbesLife an update on where the program is, and what the future holds.
Why did you join Aerion?
“The most rewarding times in my career have been those when I had the chance to run with a new idea, and remake the industry. Aerion will do more than that. It will simply revolutionize the way the world travels. I could not ask for a more exciting opportunity.”
Can you give us a quick overview of the company?
“Aerion is a company in the mold of aviation pioneers who were investing in new technology to revolutionize business travel. That’s been missing for a while. With the exception of Concorde, we’ve been stuck in the subsonic realm since the 1960s, the dawn of the jet age. Aerion will change that, providing routine speeds of around Mach 1.5 in a first-generation supersonic business jet.”
How close are we to supersonic flight?
“Closer than many people imagine. We expect to have a certified aircraft in service around 2022. That’s not a long time for an advanced aircraft development program such as the Aerion AS2. While not exactly typical, the supersonic AS2 is conventional in terms of materials and systems. It breaks new ground in aerodynamics, specifically a supersonic natural laminar flow wing. This patented technology has been successfully demonstrated in supersonic test flights jointly conducted between Aerion and NASA.”