Aerion AS2: Buyer’s and Investor’s Guide

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Pros

The fastest business jet in the world and possibly the most exciting project around. Breakfast in London, lunch in New York and then home in time for dinner.

Cons

The AS2 is not flying yet. And it costs more than $120 million.

Flying

The AS2 is all about speed.

During Super-Cruise, the aircraft will be travelling at Mach 1.4 (1,074mph/1,728 kph) – making it the fastest business aviation in history. This is thanks to the aircraft’s thin-wing design and special laminar technology, that is expected to allow for 70% less drag, and three GE Affinity engines.

Although impressive, flying over Mach 1 (speed of sound) creates a sonic boom – a phenomenon that is incredibly loud and creates earthquake-like tremors on the ground, which can cause structural damage. This is not a problem over water – but has led to supersonic flight being prohibited over land.

Nonetheless, Aerion believes it has created a ‘boomless cruise’ – allowing the aircraft to fly between Mach 1.1-1.2 without creating a sonic boom. Aerion says this is dependent on the right atmospheric conditions – but there is also a huge amount of work to be done before supersonic flight over land becomes normal.

Until Aerion can successfully certify the ‘boomless cruise’, the AS2 will (only) be able to fly at M0.95 over land.

Flying between New York and London on the AS2 will save 1 hour 55 minutes as well as 58 minutes between New York and Los Angeles, compared to traditional private jets.

The aircraft will also have a reasonably long range. At Mach 1.4, the aircraft will be able to fly 4,200nm. Flying slower at Mach 0.95 extends the range to 5,400nm. Both ranges allow passengers to fly from London to Seattle, Hong Kong to Saint Petersburg or Los Angeles to La Paz.

Travelling

The AS2 will feature a large cabin, with a height of 6ft 1in, width of 7ft 6in and length of 30ft. This will allows plenty of space for passengers to travel in comfort.

The cabin zones can be configured to include an aft stateroom, double club, conference grouping (for 11 people), an entertainment centre with a cadenza or a large divan.

The cabin will feature two seating areas, a full galley, a large aft lavatory and a baggage compartment that is accessible in-flight.

What the AS2’s interior may look like (Image: Aerion)

Owning

A new AS2 will set you back $120 million – making it roughly the same price as a new ACJ319neo fitted with a new interior.

Depending on your point of view, this is either great value for a supersonic aircraft or it represents the same money as two G650ERs, which can cruise at Mach 0.90.

The AS2 has already secured 20 orders from Flexjet – with the aircraft set to start being delivered in 2023. Flexjet will be the launch customer of the AS2.

The AS2 is venturing into uncharted territory by combining business aviation and supersonic flight. It is likely to be a niche aircraft to start with and this could hit resale values.

 

Hard Facts

Maximum range: 6,213miles/ 10,000km /5,400nm (at Mach 0.95)
Maximum speed: 1,074mph/1,728kph/Mach 1.4
Typical passengers: 4
Typical crew: 3
List price for new aircraft: $120 million
Pre-owned price: still in development

 

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