During day three at Farnborough air show, it was all about the need for speed – with the race to supersonic and the push towards urban air taxis to beat congestion on the ground. The day’s big announcement saw the launch of a new airline.
The race to deliver ultra-fast flights by the mid-2020s is well underway and we kicked off the day in the FINN Sessions Insights Theatre with a keynote from Blake Scholl, Founder and CEO of Boom Supersonic, who discussed how Boom intends to serve the market that has been dormant since Concorde stopped flying in 2003.
He said the challenge requires a durable solution that meets the commercial incentive to do supersonic speed at business class prices, adding that the market potential is 100x that of Concorde.
Fortunately, modern technology and lightweight composite materials, together with advanced turbo fans, enable a level of efficiency and reduction in noise that Concorde’s designers could only dream of.
It could be that the first to market will be a VIP aircraft in 2025 through Aerion Supersonic working with established OEMs Lockheed Martin and GE. Aerion’s CCO, Ernie Edwards,, joined a panel debate on delivering aviation beyond the speed of sound and argued that market demand is there.
Meanwhile, hypersonic technology – giving you speed in excess of five times the speed of sound – is coming along much quicker than we thought. We caught up with CEO of Reaction Engines, Mark Thomas, who old us about the new SABRE hypersonic engine for propelling both aircraft and spacecraft, which the company expects to revolutionise the way we travel around the globe, and into orbit.
“We are on the verge of a hypersonic revolution,” he said.
This time it’s personal
Urban air transport has the potential to radically reshape transportation and there are a number of innovators unveiling their programmes here this week.
EmbraerX is collaborating with Uber to make an all-electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft and its ecosystem a reality.
Faradair which has been working on a six-seater Bio-Electric-Hybrid-Aircraft programme, upped its game today by increasing the BEHA to a 10-seater and unveiling an all-electric 6-10 commuter aircraft with a two-hour range and a milititarised variant as well.
Luxury car manufacturers are seizing the opportunity to bring luxury personal transportation to the sky. Aston Martin has launched its Volante Vision Concept, a luxury concept aircraft with vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capabilities, which it is developing together with Cranfield University, Cranfield Aerospace Solutions and Rolls-Royce.
The big one
Today’s biggest announcement came from Nigeria’s Ministry of Transportation. Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika announced today that the country is launching a new national carrier, Nigeria Air, which is scheduled to commence operations in December 2018. The new airline will be private sector led, with the Nigerian Government owning no more than 5%.
See you for more tomorrow.