It is now almost two years since HyperMach Aerospace Industries launched the concept of its SonicStar aircraft, which is designed to travel at four times the speed of sound.
During that time it has continued to work on designing what it hopes will become the fastest aircraft in the world and has continued to look for someone to build it. HyperMach is currently talking to two or three aircraft manufacturers about the production of the SonicStar.
“We are now speaking to one US manufacturer and another manufacturer outside of the US,” said Richard Lugg, CEO. “We are also speaking to an Asian manufacturer, although that has not progressed to a face-to-face meeting as of yet.”
Although Lugg would not specify which US manufacturer was n discussion with HyperMach, he ruled out Boeing and hinted: “It is not who you think it is.”
Lugg also said that HyperMach saw greater opportunity offshore and admitted that he found it unlikely that the company would receive any major investment from the US or the UK.
Aiming for 2024
Having made some changes to the aircraft in the last couple of years, the original entry date has now been pushed back from 2021 to June 2024.
“We have made some improvements in the turbine, where we generate the power, says Lugg. “We have increased the maximum capacity from 24 to 32 and brought the cruising speed up to around 3000mph.”
Much scepticism was triggered when HyperMach first announced the supersonic aircraft at the 2011 Paris Air Show, but Lugg remains confident and shows no sign of toning down his ambitions.
“We see this as a whole new realm of travel for the high-net-worth individual,” he says. “You will be able to fly from New York to London in one hour.”
In 2011, Corporate Jet Investor reported that HyperMach was planning six financing rounds for the SonicStar. Lugg now says the company completed three rounds between 2008 and 2011 and has recently closed its fourth.
“We are quite pleased with the progress we have made on the financial side, says Lugg. “There are three open discussions but we are still seeking a major investor.”
HyperMach is now due to start its fifth financing round, which it plans to keep open for 18-20 months. Although Lugg could not confirm whether this would be the penultimate round, he said: “We do not want too many rounds.”
HyperMach is promising an aircraft which is not only faster than anything else, but far more efficient. “The aircraft is six times faster than the Gulfstream G650 and you are still paying less for fuel, says Lugg.”
The aircraft will be capable of running on not just aviation biofuels, but also military fuel types including JP-7 and JP-8.
However, Lugg is keen to stress that the efficiency of the aircraft will not be providing by the fuel that it uses, but by the hybrid engine technology currently being pioneered by HyperMach.
Lugg recognises the environment and what he describes as the “environmental package” – encompassing noise and other factors – as the biggest challenge for a new aircraft in today’s market.