Supersonic aircraft company, Aerion, reaches a major milestone in the development of the AS2 business jet this month with wind tunnel testing commencing in conjunction with French aerospace testing and research experts, ONERA in Modane, France.
Aerion’s modelling of the AS2’s design has been completed using aerodynamic optimization tools developed in-house by subsidiary company, Aerion Technologies, based in Palo Alto, CA. These innovative engineering design solutions, coupled with scalable computing in the cloud, provide thousands of data points to develop the aerodynamic shape to a high level of fidelity and detail. Combined with wind tunnel testing, these tools negate the need for costly demonstrator aircraft in the earlier stages of the development cycle and accelerate the program to the final stages of validation.
“Our Aerion Technologies design optimization process is built from a combination of NASA-developed analysis CFD software, commercial tools and our own internal framework to be highly scalable,” says Aerion Technologies EVP, Alex Egeler. “This flexible framework allows us to simulate millions of parametric design scenarios on the cloud and determine robust solutions – all in the virtual world at a speed previously unseen in business jet development.”
“While the onset of increasingly sophisticated computer modelling technology has greatly enhanced aerospace design, wind tunnel testing remains a key component in the development cycle,” says Aerion’s Director, System Test & Evaluation, Robert (Bob) Lewis. “Certain aspects of aircraft design remain difficult to fully model virtually and still require validation through wind tunnel testing. We are working with the world’s best wind tunnel model builders and the global leaders in wind tunnel technology to validate our virtual findings and ensure the AS2 design exceeds expectations.”
Aerion’s pursuit of faster point-to-point travel begins with the launch of the AS2 supersonic business jet which will commence production in 2023. Designed to be inherently environmentally responsible from first flight, the AS2 is the first supersonic aircraft designed to be powered by 100% synthetic fuel and reach supersonic speeds without the need for an afterburner.
The manufacture of 300 AS2 aircraft is planned for the first decade of production. The AS2 will be the first aircraft to be assembled at the company’s new global headquarters in Melbourne, Florida – Aerion Park. The state-of-the-art development – powered by clean energy – will incorporate headquarters operations plus an integrated campus for research, design, build, and maintenance of the company’s supersonic aircraft.