CORPORATE JET INSIDER

Spike Aerospace’s Supersonic S-512 Will Be World’s Fastest Business Jet

Mar 6, 2014 | Industry News

Want a faster way to fly from Los Angeles to Tokyo? You’ll have it about four years from now, when the world’s fastest business jet comes on the market: The S-512 supersonic jet from Spike Aerospace. According to the Boston-based aerospace firm, when the S-512 is released in 2018, it will be able to make the Los Angeles to Tokyo run in eight hours (that’s a 16-hour flight today).

Windowless cabin

One of the more revolutionary features of the S-512 supersonic jet is its windowless cabin. Instead, the interior walls are embedded with display screens. Exterior cameras will reconstruct panoramic views of the outside and project those images onto the screens. Passengers can dim their screen when they want to sleep or change it to display other scenic images stored in the jet’s computer system.

According to Spike, windows present a variety of structural design complications. Eliminating them means eliminating weight and additional structural support, as well as reducing the drag usually caused by windows. Before the S-512, it wasn’t possible to create a windowless aircraft.

Advanced features, upscale price

The Spike Aerospace team, along with a handful of entrepreneurs and investors, wants to make the S-512 the world’s first private supersonic jet. The S-512’s hefty $80 million price tag will buy you a plane that

  • cruises at Mach 1.6 with a maximum speed of Mach 1.8,
  • can seat 18 passengers,
  • flies from New York to London in just 3-4 hours (today that’s a 6-7 hour trip),
  • has a range of 4,000 nautical miles,
  • measures 131 feet long and has a 60-foot wingspan, and
  • has a 40-foot-long, 6-foot-2-inch-high cabin.

Sonic boom challenges

As you might have guessed, it is no accident that Spike quotes overseas flight times and not continental U.S. flight times. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) prohibits supersonic flight over land (with a few exceptions) because of noise regulations regarding sonic booms.

While Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and even NASA have been working on ways to redesign supersonic aircraft to reduce the boom that occurs when breaking the sound barrier, those efforts have not yet succeeded.

So is $80 million too much to pay for a plane that can only perform overseas trips? That’s up to you to decide.

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