Of course, the Skyacht’s antiquated aesthetics may not be for those who revel in the monochrome elegance of modern travel, but the unique nature of this jet is certain to turn heads everywhere you go. As captain of this immense craft, the most sumptuous space is reserved solely for you, with personal quarters that are coated from the plush, carpeted floor to the panelled ceiling in padded suede and gold inlay. The on-plane bath features a dazzling faucet inspired by the throttles of superyachts, with green Malachite countertops and shower juxtaposing the mahogany and teak woodgrain and lending further elegance to the incredible Skyacht.
There are few jets that can rival the Skyacht for sheer audacity, but Aerion’s planned $158 million supersonic tri-jet the AS2 may well be one – providing you’re prepared to put aside the aero-nautical elegance in favour of sheer, unadulterated speed. Though still some years away, the Aerion AS2 has benefitted from some technological input from Airbus, and the two companies are hoping to announce the formal launch of the Mach-1.4 capable business jet by the end of 2016.
With the purported ability to travel roughly 6000 miles at supersonic speed, the AS2 is being touted as the jet that will revolutionise intercontinental travel, with Aerion claiming that it will have the ability to shave three hours off a typical trans-Atlantic flight, and over six hours off a trans-Pacific route.
And if the combined efforts of aviation giants Aerion and Airbus weren’t enough to pique your interest in this supersonic spectacle, the internal engineering under the hood of the AS2 makes use of Supersonic Natural Laminar Flow – a technology developed first by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and then further tested by none other than NASA. Aerion hope that the inclusion of SNLF will make the AS2 more environmentally responsible than traditional supersonic jet designs and give it added flexibility in terms of its operational utility, although the jet’s sleek 170-foot body may make it unsuited to some runways.
Aerion also hopes that the AS2 will go further than any market rival before it by reducing airflow enough to sidestep the tough regulations imposed on supersonic travel over land, which prohibit aircraft from creating sonic booms over most nations. The SNLF is reported to reduce surface drag by up to 90%, allowing the AS2 to break the sound barrier with ease whilst still using traditional jet engines.
The challenges facing the AS2 are undeniably vast, but despite the physical and financial difficulties facing Aerion and Airbus in their attempts to change the face of intercontinental business travel forever, there’s still hope. FlexJet, who offer fractional ownership of upmarket aircraft, have recently ordered 20 AS2’s at a cost of around $3 billion, and Rolls Royce are apparently interested in helping Aerion out with their engine issues, proving that the expectations behind AS2’s astronomically ambitious targets are not unfounded.
“We will proceed with an engine that allows us to meet our performance goals with the minimum changes required,” Aerion CEO Doug Nichols told AIN earlier this year. “Aerion is focused on an engine that meets Stage 4 noise standards while preserving long-range supersonic performance. This is a significant challenge with a low-bypass supersonic engine, but solutions are in sight with today’s engine technology. The engine is the key to the AS2.”
If realised, the AS2 may well succeed where Concorde and many others have failed, and change the entire landscape of private air travel to boot – after all, there’s little more impressive than arriving for a meeting several hours before you even left the tarmac.
Article by Jake Taylor RE:LUXE