- Boeing Co said on Tuesday it had made a significant investment in supersonic business jet developer Aerion, as the world’s biggest
planemaker looks to tap into rising demand for high-end aircraft that can reduce travel time.
- General Electric Co.in October said it completed an initial engine design for Aerion’s AS2 aircraft to fly faster than the speed of sound while meeting noise and emissions rules.
The team has made it clear that the new SST will incorporate technology which reduces the noise to acceptable levels, which will meet CO2 standards and which will produce operating costs which would be bought by the people who need the speed.
The International Council on Clean Transportation is an independent nonprofit organization founded to provide first-rate, unbiased research and technical and scientific analysis to environmental regulators. Its mission is to improve the environmental performance and energy efficiency of road, marine, and air transportation, in order to benefit public health and mitigate climate change.
ICCT is no paper tiger. In 2013 the Council sponsored research of Volkswagen diesel car emissions. That paper resulted in the US EPA and the California Air Resources Board taking action against the German carmaker for nitrogen oxide emissions exceeding levels allowed under the law.
It expects that this report will influence ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection, which will meet in Montreal to discuss standards for supersonic aircraft. A concern among environmental groups is that supersonic jets burn much more fuel per passenger than conventional jets. The International Council on Clean Transportation estimates the new supersonic jets will consume as much as five to seven times as much fuel per passenger as subsonic aircraft on the same routes. That’s partly because going faster requires more fuel and partly because the supersonic jets are expected to transport significantly fewer passengers per plane
The supporters of the SST suppose that the ICCT assumptions are based on “existing” technology – i.e. Concorde. A lot has changed in 50 years. The AS2’s Affinity GE engine meets all current noise and emissions standards. As for the boom, the AS2 is designed to be practical in both supersonic and subsonic regimes – so it can and will fly subsonic over land. But even that could change with current research into Mach cutoff – calculating precisely when the boom is not reaching the ground. It’s a complex combination of aerodynamics and ambient weather conditions, but the goal is to attain and maintain “boomless” supersonic flight. If the study groups talked with the people designing the airplanes, they’d learn a lot more.
That battle is further confused by the following policy conundrums:
The debate will be escalating in the near future. Hopefully, the end will not be a zero outcome. Given the strength of the two sides and their ability to broadcast their arguments/claims, the contretemps has the potential to influence negatively the policy makers deciding the environmental standards for other aircraft.
Share this article: