Aircraft

Spike Aerospace updates S-512 supersonic jet design

Spike Aerospace updates S-512 ...
The latest design of the S-512 uses a delta wing configuration
The latest design of the S-512 uses a delta wing configuration
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The latest design of the S-512 uses a delta wing configuration
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The latest design of the S-512 uses a delta wing configuration
Wind tunnel profile of the S-512
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Wind tunnel profile of the S-512
S-512 wing sketches
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S-512 wing sketches
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Ever since the retirement of Concorde, the aviation industry has looked forward to the rebirth of civilian supersonic air travel. The question is, will it be an airliner or something else? Spike Aerospace is betting that it will be a business jet – to be specific, the Spike Aerospace S-512 supersonic jet, which was unveiled as a concept in 2013. The company has now released its latest design.

If it gets off the ground, the S-512 will be the fastest business aircraft ever built. At a cost of US$60 to $80 million, it's design to carry up to 18 passengers at a cruising speed of Mach 1.6 (1,220 mph/1,963 km/h) and a maximum speed of Mach 1.8 (1,370 mph/2,205 km/h). In practical terms, that means London to New York in three hours. In addition, Spike is looking to do away with conventional port holes and replacing them with digital screens running the length of the cabin.

Spike says that the latest changes to the S-512 are a balancing act between safety, performance and cost-effectiveness. Changes in range, payload, speed, fuel efficiency, comfort and sonic booms all have an impact on one another. In addition, input from the sales team, which uses information from potential customers, introduces more tradeoffs against marketability.

S-512 wing sketches
S-512 wing sketches

The latest version of the S-512 replaces the old wings with a modified delta wing. This features a highly-swept leading edge for better aerodynamic efficiency by reducing wave drag, and improved flight performance in both low-speed flight and supersonic cruise speeds, as well as improved fuel efficiency. The new wing also allowed the engineers to remove the horizontal tail for another reduction in weight and drag. Spike says that additional changes will be released as the design phase continues.

"Flying supersonic is clearly the future of aviation," says Spike CEO and President Vik Kachoria. "It makes the world smaller and more accessible. For any competitive global business, cutting flight times in half will have significant value. But for people who have busy global lives and want to spend time with the people they love, the Spike S-512 supersonic jet will be a necessity."

Source: Spike Aerospace

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10 comments
Derek Howe
Several companies have been working on supersonic business jets...but none (including them) have been able to bring it to the market.
But its gotta happen by someone, eventually.
good luck to em'.
Gaëtan Mahon
It's like Iron Man asking Iron Monger about the Icing problem...
How do they plan to solve the Sonic Boom problem the Concorde had?: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concorde#Scheduled_flights
Unless they solve it they'll never be allowed to fly at Mach speeds above an area that has people call their home.
Bill Bennett
Travel for the elite class.
piperTom
Does anybody do math anymore? Suppose that an $80M plane is carrying paying passengers (Somebody will be paying!) and suppose that aircraft owner is willing to fly 200 times just to get his investment back. ...not operating costs or any interest on investment, just the $80M. A full 18 passenger flight (every time) means each trip costs each person more than $22K. Wheee!
the.other.will
This radical change of the wing suggests the design is immature. There's no mention of the engine in this post or on the company website. That makes the performance stats more of a wish list than a reality.
Stickmaker
For that speed range - and in an application where hard turning isn't required, as in a dogfighter - isn't a thin, straight wing more efficient than a swept wing or delta?
Of course, a small, thin, straight wing requires some pretty elaborate blown flaps and slats to reduce takeoff and landing speeds.
As for sonic booms, NASA recently tested a nose design which adds a bit of drag but greatly reduces the sound levels. There are also tricks in layout design which spread the boom production over larger sections of the airframe, reducing peak pressures.
BundyGil
The elephant in the room that has been glossed over with the 'Changes in range, payload, speed, fuel efficiency, comfort and sonic booms' statement. Sonic booms over land to and from airports killed the Concorde. How will that be overcome?
Techtwit
Why the need for speed? We have sophisticated communications system allowing several people to join in a virtual meeting, and rapid data transfer systems to allow sharing of information, so why use vast sums of money and large quantities of fuel to physically meet? Or is this just to satisfy the ego of top business men who need to show off their positions of power?
Robert Walther
Fortune 100 Companies like P&G already pay this much for Gulfstream craft with gold inlay/leaf accessories. Worrying about the 'outrageous' cost is not a major concern for an $80 Billion$ dollar corporation. The 'getting your money back' may be a concern for someone who makes payments on a SUV.
The time and security overhead for 6-8 Corporate executives, rarely would 18 such egos fit on a craft of this caliber, would more than justify the expense; as would the justification of not paying taxes on $80,000,000 that is otherwise just extra profit.
If you read this Sci-mag or anyone of a couple of dozen other science publications, you would know that there are so many different types of solutions to sonic booms, that choosing the most advanced and cheapest option is now the major concern.
Lance
@Stickmaker
Yeah I saw some shock wave pictures where they shaped a long nose with little steps that made a series of six or seven shock waves form and the plain was virtually silent. More shock waves is more drag but not enough to be a big disadvantage.