Aerion Park Rendering – Courtesy: Aerion website.
Aerion, the supersonic private aircraft company, has officially landed in Florida, breaking ground for its new global headquarters in Melbourne. Here, the company plans on producing the world’s first business class jet to break the sound barrier—faster than the speed of sound.
“We are building the future of mobility – a future where humanity can travel between any two points on our planet in three hours or less,” said Tom Vice, chief executive officer at Aerion.
The $300 million state-of-the-art mega campus will occupy a roughly 110-acre lot and will be used for the design, production, and research of the AS2, which is expected to begin in 2023, per the company. Aerion will be joining forces with aviation giant Boeing and General Electric for the development of its product.
Vice said the campus, Aerion Park, will change the way we see high-speed flight by bringing “a new sustainable means of supersonic and hypersonic flight.”
Aerion Park plans to live up to that commitment by powering the campus with “clean energy” via photovoltaic solar technology as the primary means for manufacturing. The company will also put Florida’s rainwater to use by collecting whatever falls on the tarmac and ground floor for alternative purposes and will install electric vehicle charging stations throughout the grounds.
Aerion’s Melbourne headquarters will generate approximately 675 high paying jobs in the state by 2026: a bonus to the work and research being done to streamline high-speed flight in our home state. In the meantime, Aerion has established a temporary outpost office at the Orlando Melbourne International Airport to house its “growing Florida-based employment base.”
“With more than $100 [million] reinvested into our airfield over the last few years, our new runways and air traffic control tower are ready to support this revolution in supersonic flight,” Greg Donovan, executive director of Orlando Melbourne International Airport, said.
All in all, Aerion claims the clean energy efforts will culminate to create the “most environmentally sustainable of its kind in the aerospace sector.”
The breaking ground comes at a pivotal point in air travel as earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released a final rule that aims to modernize the “procedure for requesting a special flight authorization to operate in excess of Mach 1 over land in the United States.” Meaning, companies would need to seek approval from the FAA before conducting air travel testing at speeds higher than Mach 1 ( > ~915 miles per hour/ 410 meters per second).
However, the FAA still forbids civil supersonic flight over U.S. land.
The last commercial or private supersonic flight that took place in the U.S. was in June 2003, when Air France and British Airways waved goodbye to its fleet of Concorde planes.
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Mike has more than 30 years of experience in marketing and public relations. He once owned his own agency and has worked with some of the largest brands in the world.