Industry News

The Effect of Sanctions on Russian Air Travel

The global response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been swift — and economically devastating. Sanctions are hitting every major Russian industry, and the implications of its severance from the rest of the world continue to mount. Aviation is a particular focal point. Eastern Europe is now a dead zone for private jet travel, and Russia’s domestic aviation industry is showing signs of duress.

Sanctions have crippled Russian private aviation

Sanctions are already affecting Russia’s aviation sector, as aircraft remain grounded following the restriction of airspace by the U.K. and the European Union. Private aviation has suffered mightily. With more than a 25% decrease in the number of private jets flying out of Russia, and Russian business jet activity only accounting for about 7% of total annual flights in Europe, the country’s restricted land mass is more of a hindrance for other air traffic between Europe and Asia.

Flight disruption isn’t the only effect of EU and U.K. sanctions. Russia looms large in terms of private jet ownership, and its private jets are some of the world’s largest business aircraft — about 25% of them are converted commercial airliners. Russian oligarchs own many of these aircraft, which are grounded outside of Russia. Some analysts believe these jets could become forfeited assets or be sold for liquidity purposes as the country’s economy suffers.

Airframers join the fight against Russia

Sanctions aren’t limited to the private jet market. Russia’s commercial airlines are also in distress as Western airframers refuse to provide parts, components, and other support for the country’s domestic fleets. It’s a crippling prospect for commercial airliners confronting the growing possibility of indefinitely grounded fleets due to an inability to keep them airworthy.

Commercial airframers, including Boeing and Airbus, have already ceased export of parts to Russia. Meanwhile, private jet maintenance firms, such as Germany’s Lufthansa Technik are setting up task forces to vet exports to avoid violating sanctions against Russia. They’re taking great pains to ensure parts shipped to maintenance centers won’t end up on Russian private aircraft.

Russia’s nationalization response

In retaliation against sanctions, Russia is mobilizing to nationalize foreign assets remaining in the country, including many private jets. Owners with their jets parked at a Russian airport may soon find it’s been seized as a Russian national asset.

In March, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law allowing Russian airlines to register planes leased from foreign companies in Russia. This makes it easier for Russian airlines to maintain domestic routes, while making it harder for foreign companies to reclaim their jets without approval from the Russian government.

Russia’s aviation industry could come crashing down

Even with this hostile takeover of foreign assets, keeping planes won’t keep Russia’s airline industry afloat. If things continue as they are, experts claim the country won’t have any form of viable airline industry within one year, and while smaller countries (e.g., North Korea and Iran) may find this tolerable, it’s an economically devastating prospect for Russia — one bound to cause ripple effects in commercial and private aviation around the globe.

Contact the experts at L & L International if you need assistance acquiring or selling a private jet. You can reach our sales specialists today at sales@L-Lint.com, call us any time at +1 (305) 754-3313, or visit us online.

NetJets Expands Its eVTOL Fleet: What It Means for BizAv

NetJets, the largest private fleet operator in the world, is taking steps to expand its fleet. Instead of more jets, the company has announced its intent to purchase up to 150 craft from Lilium, a Munich-based manufacturer of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) jets. It’s a forward-looking move certain to cause ripples across private aviation, in terms of both market share and sustainability.

An agreement with sustainable undertones

The agreement between NetJets and Lilium represents a major shift toward private aviation’s sustainable future. Not only has NetJets committed to expanding its fleet with eVTOL units, it’s doing so at a large scale, with a commitment to purchase 150 craft. NetJets’ letter of intent outlines its commitment to a sustainable future for aviation.

For NetJets, the move is about much more than simply expanding its short-range fleet — it’s about ensuring a more sustainable fleet for the future. eVTOL jets are 100% electric, producing less carbon effect than a gas-fueled car.

This new technology also makes helipad infrastructure more available, giving NetJets’ customers more options for takeoff and landing locations. Whether they want to take a quick day trip, visit relatives a few cities over, or travel for a nearby getaway, they’ll be able to do so with minimal environmental impact.

Larger implications loom for BizAv

How does this partnership change the landscape for the BizAv sector? For one thing, NetJets could soon have a fleet that covers virtually any distance efficiently. This strategic focus helps solidify NetJets as a premier provider of chartered flights — whether from city to city within a region or intracity, from one location to another.

In the not-too-distant future, business executives could be hopping into an eVTOL rather than a company car or an Uber. As helipad infrastructure opens up, these electric regional aircraft will present endless options in terms of where NetJets owners can travel for private flights. It will change the landscape of business commuting into one that offers travelers more convenience and aligns with sustainable aviation initiatives.

Source: netjets.com

The timeline for eVTOL deployment

Lilium’s jets are expected to earn certification in 2024, with commercial agreements for the aircraft set to be signed by summer 2022. Pending FAA approval, NetJets expects to deploy Lilium jets in select locations to allow fractional owners to travel to and from their craft or on short trips to nearby destinations. Lilium has already started a transportation hub in Florida, which will link the state with eVTOL aircraft following certification.

The private aviation landscape is constantly changing, and the partnership between NetJets and Lilium is just one example of what we can expect from sustainable aviation. As private aviation shifts to shorter, more sustainable flights via eVTOLs, it’s also likely to open private air travel to even more of the population. NetJets is putting the pieces in place to get ahead of the eVTOL boom, so it can remain one of the world’s premier charter companies.

The expert jet brokers at L & L International are here to help you acquire the perfect jet. Need to sell your jet? We can assist with that, too. Contact the private aviation professionals online, at sales@L-Lint.com, or at +1 (305) 754-3313.

Meet the “Son of Concorde”: NASA and Lockheed’s Answer to Supersonic Flight

The Concorde was the original supersonic jet, making its trans-Atlantic debut in 1973 and enjoying a 30-year run until its retirement in 2003. Without a de facto heir in place, commercial supersonic air travel followed the Concorde into history — until now.

NASA and Lockheed Martin have joined forces in a new venture to create the X-59, a boomless supersonic jet nicknamed “Son of Concorde.” The jet resembles the Concorde, and includes many features that made the original a household name, but early reports suggest the Son of Concorde will far outstrip its supersonic predecessor in both form and function.

Supersonic contenders

While widely considered the heir apparent of the original supersonic jet, Son of Concorde is far from the only aircraft gunning for jet stream dominance.

Industry front-runner Boom Supersonic recently broke ground on a facility in North Carolina, where it plans to begin producing its supersonic Overture jet. Other producers, including Exosonic and Spike Aerospace remain tight-lipped about their innovations, but their scale testing results keep them in the running. Startups in Russia, Japan, and China are also joining the race to launch the first jet in the new era of supersonic travel.

In fact, the industry is expanding so rapidly, some manufacturers are skipping supersonic tech altogether and diving straight into niche technologies, such as hypersonic or atmospheric travel.

A closer look at the X-59

In a time of booming supersonic travel innovation, Son of Concorde is unique in its focus on the supersonic technology rather than the airframe. Where Boom Supersonic and others are developing supersonic airframes, Son of Concorde is currently a one-seater, and Lockheed and NASA are immersed in perfecting “quiet” supersonic technology.

Flight testing as the X-59, Son of Concorde boasts some pretty promising specs. According to NASA reports, it is expected to maintain a top speed of 990 mph, with a cruising speed of 937 mph at 55,000 feet. As for “quiet” supersonic tech, NASA believes it can reduce the notorious “boom” to a mere 60 decibels at ground level, matching the “thunk” of a car door closing. All this and NYC to LON — 3,459 miles — in under four hours.

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Son of Concorde versus “Baby Boom”

Son of Concorde is already producing promising wind tunnel tests, picking up where its predecessor left off, but it’s lagging behind some other industry players. Boom Supersonic, for instance, has signed purchase agreements with United Airlines based on the performance of its own scale jet, the “Baby Boom.”

The specialty sector continues to expand, which might mean room enough for several supersonic success stories. With a $247.5 million commitment behind it, NASA’s venture with Lockheed Martin could easily be a premier player in the supersonic big leagues.

The expert jet brokers at L & L International are here to help you acquire the perfect jet. Need to sell your jet? We can assist with that, too. Contact the private aviation professionals online, at Sales@L-Lint.com, or at (305) 754-3313.

Russia-Ukraine Conflict Disrupts Air Travel

Tensions between Russia and Ukraine have dominated headlines since February. In March, events escalated to open warfare. Ukrainian airspace, and much of the surrounding region, has become a no-fly zone for commercial and chartered flights. The conflict is disrupting air travel across Eastern Europe, with no end in sight.

The flight map around Ukraine shows virtually nothing as aircraft give the country a wide berth. This is in sharp contrast to February, when flights out of the country rose sharply. On February 13, 20 private jets left Ukraine to head west with no immediate plans to return. Since then, there have been no flights in — or out.

Combat airspace extends beyond the conflict zone

There aren’t likely to be any commercial or private flights over Ukrainian airspace, but it isn’t technically a no-fly zone. In fact, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has repeatedly asked NATO to declare the airspace officially closed, which would establish strict prohibitions on military aircraft, including Russian helicopters and planes. NATO representatives fear the escalation a formal no-fly declaration, and subsequent breach, could bring.

Formal declaration or no, the airspace above Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus remains unsafe for commercial and private aircraft, forming a bloc that effectively cuts off all flight around a major intersection for European air travel.

Empty skies in Eastern Europe

The danger of a surface-to-air or air-to-air attack on civilian aircraft is more than enough to deter flights over Eastern Europe, and private aviation is taking particular care to evade the danger.

Eastern Europe lies along several key flight paths between common city pairs. Flights to or from Moscow are virtually off the table, and most EU-based flights to Hong Kong are now required to detour via the United Arab Emirates instead of charting a more direct course over Ukraine. Flights to Europe out of Mainland China, Japan, or South Korea — and vice versa — are now longer by an hour or more.

As commercial airlines plot similar flight paths around Eastern Europe’s “dead zone,” the skies have grown crowded. Private jetsetters looking for a speedy trip around the bloc could find themselves waiting longer for a route to become available.

Long-term flight implications

There’s no time limit on the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which means there’s no predicting when Eastern European skies will reopen for air travel. Even when open conflict ends, it could still be some time before pilots are comfortable flying through formerly hostile airspace.

Private fliers can expect delays and restrictions for eastbound flights out of Europe and westbound flights into the EU. The Russia-Ukraine conflict has effectively closed the door on efficient air travel between Europe and Asia for the time being.

Contact the experts at L & L International if you need assistance acquiring or selling a private jet. You can reach our sales specialists today at Sales@L-Lint.com, call us anytime at (305) 754-3313, or visit us online.

Brexit Impacts LPV Approaches at UK Airports

A localizer performance with vertical guidance (LPV) approach is a familiar process to most private aviation pilots. LPV approaches rely on state-of-the-art instruments to establish ideal landing trajectory without ground-based navigation aid. They’re a step above LNAV/VNAV approaches and fast becoming the gold standard for private aviation. But after June 25, pilots flying into UK airspace won’t be able to rely on LPV.

Loss of EGNOS signals a return to lesser tech

Pilots flying into the UK will soon lose access to the EGNOS position augmentation service. This EU proprietary system supports approach guidance for landing aircraft, and it’s crucial for LPV approaches.

But the UK government could not come to terms with the EU for continued use of the EGNOS service. Now, the UK is scrambling to find an alternative navigation option. Developing new solution will take time, money, and lengthy consultation with the UK Space Agency.

According to UK Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps, losing EGNOS access is more than a disappointment; it’s a step backward for safety and efficiency. Orchestrating a replacement is possible, but is, as Shapps says, “unfortunately, going to take some time and considerable investment to implement.”

The scope of affected aviation operations

Eighteen UK airports are affected by the loss of the EGNOS system. Pilots who have relied on WAAS/GPS approaches like LPV and LNAV/VNAV will now have to revert back to an instrument landing system (ILS).

Airports (e.g., London Oxford) have been working hard to implement LPV approaches, which provide faster transition off the airways and create less noise and fewer emissions. But the failure to make an agreement with the European Commission has forced the UK’s civil aviation authority (CAA) back to the drawing board for a commensurate navigation system.

Brexit headaches continue to pop up

The LPV challenge is one of several arising from Brexit. Others include loss of cabotage and questions about the future of mutual safety standards. These factors, along with industry changes caused by the pandemic, will test the UK and EU’s commitment to cooperation. For now, new problems continue to pop up as the UK moves closer to Brexit.

As EU pilots continue to rely on EGNOS — and the aviation industry advances its technology — the UK is moving backward. The loss of LPV approaches will reduce airport efficiency and increase the burden on ground-based infrastructure, even as prevailing trends move away from outdated methods. An EGNOS-like solution for the UK is years away, and questions continue to loom regarding how the aviation industry will operate in the meantime.

Contact the experts at L & L International if you need assistance acquiring or selling a private jet. You can reach our sales specialists today at sales@L-Lint.com, call us any time at +1 (305) 754-3313, or visit us online.

GE Aviation Ceases Development on Supersonic Affinity Engine

Supersonic aviation superstar Aerion has ceased operations. That was the big news — last month. Now, hard on the heels of Aerion’s closure, comes GE’s announcement of a production halt of its Affinity engine, meant to power Aerion’s AS2 supersonic jet.

It’s a death knell for Aerion and a blow to GE’s prospects in supersonic engine production. The Affinity halt caps off a two-and-a-half-year partnership with Aerion that was meant to put GE at the forefront of a bold new industry.

A lost opportunity for GE Aviation

Aerion’s decision to halt operations came as an unexpected blow to the whole supersonic aviation industry. But it hit partner companies like GE especially hard. Aerion’s AS2 was poised to be the first supersonic jet to hit the market, and GE was set to make their mark in the industry with an engine to rival Rolls Royce.

With Aerion’s production indefinitely on hold, GE’s opportunity to create the Affinity engine is gone, and its development team has moved on to other company programs.

Sunk costs could spell trouble for GE

While GE’s stoppage of the Affinity engine is a clear sign of Aerion’s permanent departure from the supersonic race, it has one other implication as well. Aerion’s competitors aren’t waiting in the wings for the Affinity engine. This is troubling for GE, which has eliminated approximately 13,000 positions in the past year. An indefinite hold on the Affinity project is a potential warning sign of significant losses for GE.

But there’s good news in the near-term. GE recently closed a deal with Indigo — India’s largest airline — for 700 CFM LEAP-1A engines and maintenance contracts. The value of the deal isn’t public, but it’s estimated at more than $20 billion, and it’s a possible offset for GE’s investment in the Affinity project.

A closer look at what could have been

With the decommissioning of the Affinity engine program, there’s more at stake than GE’s losses. The aviation industry has lost what could have been the most innovative supersonic engine ever to grace the skies. Among a host of other features, the Affinity engine was set to meet stringent Stage 5 subsonic noise requirements and beat current emissions standards. The halt in production is a setback for the whole industry.

GE’s engine was set to run on 100 percent sustainable fuels — a major leap forward for supersonic travel and the aviation industry in general. For now, supersonic travel is farther away than it was just a few short months ago.

The expert jet brokers at L & L International are here to help you acquire the perfect jet. Need to sell your jet? We can assist with that, too. Contact the private aviation professionals online, at sales@L-Lint.com, or at +1 (305) 754-3313.

Orders Are Already Rolling in for Supersonic Aircraft

Chatter about supersonic jets has been bubbling for years. Now, it appears that chatter has become a full-blown conversation — at least for NetJets and supersonic jet maker Aerion. The two recently sat down to ink an option deal for 20 supersonic jets, to make NetJets the first supersonic charter provider in the United States.

It’s the first trickle of many more deals to come as the prospect of supersonic jets becomes more real and charter companies seek to position themselves for a competitive advantage. The deal is more than a jumpstart to the supersonic race to the skies — it’s a vote of confidence that we’re not far from a future of supersonic flight.

An intriguing deal that goes beyond jets

NetJets has optioned 20 of Aerion’s AS2 supersonic jets, at a price tag of $120 million per craft. The deal, worth $2.4 billion, follows an identical order by NetJets competitor Flexjet, which means roughly half of Aerion’s current order backlog comes from the fractional jet market. It’s an interesting way to kick off the supersonic age, and one that suggests continued fractional jet popularity in the coming years.

What makes NetJets’ order unique are the peripherals of the deal. NetJets isn’t just ordering jets — they’re forming a full-on partnership with Aerion in a move to establish supersonic dominance. NetJets is owned by Berkshire Hathaway, as is FlightSafety International.

After inking the NetJets deal with Aerion, Berkshire Hathaway announced a supersonic flight training academy venture, aimed at preparing the next generation of pilots for supersonic travel. The kicker? The academy will be operated by FlightSafety International, at an Aerion-branded facility. It signals much deeper ties between the jet maker, Berkshire Hathaway, and its significant holdings in private aviation.

NetJets and Aerion will also explore an exclusive partnership that leverages Aerion Connect into the NetJets platform.

A big bet on supersonic

Fractional jet buy-in is just the first sign of an impending supersonic future. Aerion is one of several companies racing to get a supersonic jet into the skies — competitors include Boom Supersonic and Spike Aerospace, which will likely seek to follow Aerion’s lead in inking their own deals with prospective buyers.

With the opening of the Kansas Supersonic Transportation Corridor slated for 2023, supersonic airframe designers are up against a ticking clock to be the first to book test time in the skies. And while there are several jets in service that could easily break the sound barrier, fractional jet companies and other investors have their interests set on jets that can push toward the Mach 2 threshold.

Fractional jets stand to capture the future

There’s a reason fractional jet companies are first-in on the supersonic jets. There’s new market of people willing to forgo commercial transport for a flight that’s a fraction of the duration. With speeds as much as 50% faster than conventional commercial jets, fractional jet popularity could skyrocket early in the supersonic age. While competitors wait to get their hands on backlogged AS2 jets or similar models, NetJets and Flexjet stand to reap the benefits of being early adopters.

The expert jet brokers at L & L International are here to help you acquire the perfect jet.
Need to sell your jet? We can assist with that, too. Contact the private aviation professionals online, at sales@L-Lint.com, or at +1 (305) 754-3313.

And Then There Were Two … Single-Pilot, Single-Engine Planes, That Is

If you’re thinking about purchasing an ultra-light jet of the single-pilot, single-engine variety your options are exactly one: the Cirrus Vision Jet. Or, at least that was your only option until Oregon-based aviation firm Stratos launched its 716X jet. While the jet is still in its flight-testing phase, the company has already begun taking orders. It seems that while the Cirrus Vision Jet is a more-than-adequate craft, people appreciate having options. For the first time ever, they’re getting it in the ultra-light, single-engine class.

Lack of competition in the single-pilot, single engine class is largely due to the virtual monopoly of the Cirrus Vision Jet. Most jets of this size are easier to produce as turboprops and, for so long, Cirrus’ technologies made it a market-beater with a substantial moat. Now, Stratos’ focus on this ultra-light category means it’s throwing a full array of resources behind the production of a suitable competitor.

“We combine the range and speed of a high-performance, twin-engine jet with the short-field takeoff capabilities of a single-engine turboprop aircraft,” says Carsten Sundin, Stratos president and cofounder.

stratosaircraft.com

Meet the Stratos 716X jet

Part of the appeal of the 716X jet is the mystique surrounding it. Stratos hasn’t been shy about touting the design and viability of its craft in this niche segment of the market, but it has been tight-lipped about the jet’s performance as it undergoes continued testing. Flight testing, which kicked off in July, has been hinted by the company to be successful so far — including the jet’s maiden flight in Redmond, OR, which lasted 22 minutes and saw a climb to 13,500ft.

The 716X is something of a second-generation jet designed specifically to compete with the Cirrus Vision Jet. Stratos’ first jet, the 714, lacked the funding to complete type certification and remains perpetually in development. That hasn’t stopped the company from iteration, however. The 716X improves upon the 714’s design with a longer cabin designed to accommodate six passengers in multiple configurations.

Something truly unique about this craft is the fact that it’ll be manufactured as both production and kit models. The kit model (716X) is expected to hit the market at $2.5 million, with a build time of 2,500 hours. Production models (716) will feature a more powerful Pratt & Whitney 535E turbofan engine, retailing for $3.5 million.

  • Cabin size of 4.9ft wide by 4.8ft tall
  • 30” of legroom, with six seat configurations
  • Lightweight carbon fiber composite construction
  • Cruise speed of 400 KTAS
cirrusaircraft.com

Comparing a market of two

How does the Stratos 716X stack up against the previously unchallenged Cirrus Vision Jet? Assuming current standards, the Stratos offers buyers several advantages that might finally split the market.

For starters, the craft offers a cruising speed that’s about 100 knots faster than the Cirrus Vision jet. That said, it does so at a fuel burn that’s about 30% more than its competitor, so there’s relatively equal tradeoff in speed vs. efficiency. With more than 1,100lbs of thrust over the Vision Jet, the Stratos 716X should give pilots less takeoff roll, better climb rate, and faster cruise.

Perhaps the most notable design difference — and the one that could catapult Stratos into a duopoly with Cirrus — is the decision to place the engine inside the fuselage, rather than hanging it in the slipstream. As a result, the Stratos jet looks to be a sleeker, more powerful player in the ultra-light jet class and a worthy competitor to the yet unchallenged Cirrus Vision Jet.

The expert jet brokers at L & L International are here to help you acquire the perfect jet. Need to sell your jet? We can assist with that, too. Contact the private aviation professionals online, at sales@L-Lint.com, or at +1 (305) 754-3313.

Uber is Selling Uber Elevate. Here’s What it Means for the Future of VTOLs

We’ve been hearing for years about VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) craft and the future of air taxis. Unfortunately, nothing has come to fruition, and the closest we’ve gotten is a few flashy presentations. Now, it seems Uber is calling it quits and exiting from the industry. One company’s early exit could be another company’s game-changing benefit, however.

The company purchasing Uber Elevate is Joby Aviation — a company that’s been in pursuit of VTOL operation for more than a decade. With a recent infusion of venture capital and the assets of Uber’s now unencumbered Elevate division, Joby Aviation may have exactly what it needs to take the final step forward into a future of VTOL travel.

Downsizing offers big potential

Few companies made it through 2020 economically unscathed. Rideshare company Uber is no exception. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi responded to cash flow problems by attempting to unload unprofitable arms of the company. Uber Elevate represented one of the most glaring examples of unprofitability. Though ambitious, the division represented a long-term economic play — one that Uber simply couldn’t afford to maintain in the current economic climate.

As marketed in the original 2016 white paper, Uber Elevate would supplant traditional cab rides with an army of VTOLs that would take off and land at designated launch pads. In other words, before Uber saw a return, they would need to establish an expansive network of launchpads and finalize their aircraft: an electric vehicle still in the testing phases of development.

In short, for Uber to see positive results on their next earnings sheet, Uber Elevate would have to go. Of course, that worked perfectly for Northern California aviation firm, Joby Aviation.

jobyaviation.com

Meet Joby

If you’re unfamiliar with Joby Aviation, you’re not alone. Though in operation since 2009, the aircraft manufacturer preferred to steer clear of the limelight, keeping its experimental craft a secret. Although few people gained access to Joby’s designs, most seem delighted by the results.

In 2018, the company’s founder, inventor JoeBen Bivert, announced that it raised $100 million from big-name investors like Toyota and Intel. Then, in January 2020, Joby Aviation announced an additional $590 million in venture capital funding. The influx of cash and the announcement of a new electric-powered VTOL craft transformed Joby Aviation from a promising upstart into a power player overnight.

Uber also has invested $75 million in Joby as part of the acquisition deal. It’s a strong signal that, while divesting an unprofitable arm of the company, Uber still believes in its technology.

An ambitious combination

The team at Joby Aviation is optimistic about their acquisition. With Uber Elevate, Joby Aviation gains access to Uber’s unmatched communications technology. Paired with Joby Aviation’s impressive VTOLs and investment largess, that communication network could prove invaluable. As Bivert explained, “These tools and new team members will be invaluable to us as we accelerate our plans for commercial launch.”

There are still years of development ahead before passengers can book their own air taxi, but Uber Elevate’s transition to Joby Aviation brings that future one step closer. Uber’s technologies and Joby’s capital could prove the winning combination the VTOL industry needs to finally take flight.

The expert jet brokers at L & L International are here to help you acquire the perfect jet. Need to sell your jet? We can assist with that, too. Contact the private aviation professionals online, at sales@L-Lint.com, or at +1 (305) 754-3313.

Kansas is Getting a Supersonic Test Corridor

Demand for supersonic jets is growing. But before we see the likes of the Concorde in the skies again, we need a place to test the next generation of supersonic aircraft. It’s looking like that test site might very well be a 770-nm corridor in Kansas that runs from Garden City, KS to Pittsburg, KS.

The Kansas Supersonic Transportation Corridor (SSTC) is the result of a new agreement between the Kansas Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and could be the testing grounds for Mach 3 aircraft as soon as 2024.

Supersonic test ground

Supersonic flight has been possible for decades. Ultimately, however, a combination of factors like immense noise and environmental pollution conspired to kill the first foray into supersonic jets. Today, several companies hope to resurrect the supersonic jet as a quieter, more environmentally friendly offering.

The deal struck between the FAA and the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) offers a way for supersonic developers to test their planes in a controlled, supervised environment. Observers from the FAA, KDOT and various industry and academic groups like Wichita State University’s National Institute of Aviation Research will monitor flights, collect noise data, and plot the road ahead for supersonic flight.

Supersonic contenders like Aerion’s AS2, Boom’s XB-1, and Lockheed Martin’s X-59 will be among the first to break in the new corridor as these aviation leaders scramble to bring their jet to market quicker than the competition.

A host of new ideas

Besides testing individual supersonic jets and their speeds, the SSTC will provide room for companies to experiment with burgeoning technology. NASA and Lockheed Martin will use the SSTC to test their so-called “quiet” supersonic technology. Aerion, the developer of the AS2, hopes to test their Boom Cruise technology, which disperses the ill effects of a sonic boom before they reach the ground.

Celebrating the decision, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association president and CEO Pete Bunce declared:

“The Kansas Supersonic Transportation Corridor will assist in the assessment of sound mitigating structural and engine designs as well as state of the art atmospheric acoustic modeling that eliminates the sonic boom and shapes the noise signature of an aircraft traveling faster than the speed of sound to a very low volume rumble. The validation of these technological breakthroughs through the use of sophisticated ground acoustic and telemetry sensors will provide the necessary data to assist global regulators and policymakers in modernizing supersonic flight policies.”

More than going fast, supersonic jet makers of the future are working hard to be responsible in achieving these speeds. The Kansas corridor allows them to experiment with their responsible technology.

One leap forward

When the world’s most famous supersonic jet, the Concorde, made flights, travelers relished the speed. They also complained that it was noisy and uncomfortable. The sonic boom wasn’t just loud inside the jet. The tremors it created could be felt on the ground. Those undeniable drawbacks eventually saw the end of the Concorde and supersonic jets like it. The SSTC represents a ray of hope for people still awed by the magic of supersonic flight.

When it is in full swing, the SSTC will provide a means of testing and developing bold advances in the field of supersonic flight. Best of all, the joint effort allows regulators a way to control the potential harm the rebirth of supersonic flight may have otherwise caused. It’s a win-win all around.

Contact the experts at L & L International if you need assistance acquiring or selling a private jet. You can reach our sales specialists today at sales@L-Lint.com, call us any time at +1 (305) 754-3313, or visit us online.