The $60 Million Windowless Private Jet
Ever since the end of the Concorde’s rein, several companies have been racing to market the first supersonic business jet.Aerion Corp. currently has in development a jet that would be able to reach Mach 1.6, scheduled to be released in 2020. Spike Aerospace has announced their plans for the S-512, a business jet that could reach speeds of Mach 1.8 and be available by 2018.
According to Vik Kachoria, president and CEO of Spike Aerospace, one of the major problems with the Concorde and the reason it has taken so long to compete with it, or even replace it, is the sonic boom. The sonic boom is a disruptive noise that results from the shockwaves created when an object travels faster than the speed of sound. The effect is such an issue that countries either banned supersonic flights, or restricted them over land.
Kachoria states that currently, it makes more sense to create supersonic business jets than it does to create larger commercial aircraft, because the plane’s size creates a smaller boom.While still being tight-lipped about several characteristics of the plane’s design, he announced recently, that the plane will be built without windows, except for the one the pilot needs to see out. The windowless feature will reduce the drag and overall cost of the unit.
“Even at subsonic speeds, windows add a tremendous cost to the aircraft because the fuselage has to be designed to support those windows. If you eliminate all that, you create piece with less structural issues, less manufacturing costs, and less parts count,” he says. The whole concept sounds like a claustrophobic nightmare, however, Kachoria has tried to compensate for the lack of windows by installing flatscreens, which can either display the outside view, or can be used to show a movie or PowerPoint presentation, if someone chooses to hold a conference in the sky.
“It’s not a new concept, but in the past we didn’t have the technology, the flatscreens, or digital cameras to capture the resolution, or the ability to stitch together cameras to create a seamless panoramic view,” he says.