General Electric announces engine tests for supersonic passenger aircraft

GE Aviation may test the Affinity engine for the upcoming AS2 passenger aircraft this year. Technical details of the engine have not yet been disclosed.

The decommissioning of the Tu-144 and Concorde was the end of supersonic passenger airliners: at least in the form in which they existed. There were many reasons for this, among the most significant ones – a sonic boom, high fuel consumption, and the complexity of the operation.

Developers from the United States intend to take into account the mistakes of engineers of the past years, creating supersonic passenger aircraft, devoid of the shortcomings of their ancestors. Among the companies working in this direction is Aerion from Nevada. She is actively developing the supersonic passenger aircraft Aerion AS2.

The project is developing successfully. As Flightglobal reported now, engine elements for a promising machine, previously called Affinity, can be tested before the end of 2020. Developers in the person of GE Aviation will test the combustion chamber and exhaust system. General Electric did not disclose details regarding Affinity, only stating that the new engine will be based on technologies used in the existing GE engine family operated by commercial airlines.

General Electric focuses on the versatility of the program: Affinity is being developed both to increase efficiency at supersonic speeds and to achieve the best results at subsonic speeds. The latter is extremely important due to the long-standing restriction on supersonic flight over American land. We note, however, that now the US Federal Aviation Administration is creating new rules for supersonic flights, stating that sound-shock mitigation technologies can help remove restrictions in the future.

One way or another, the AS2 intends to conduct the first flight in the first half of the 2020s with the introduction of the aircraft into operation around 2026. A promising airliner will be designed for 12 passengers. The length of the aircraft is estimated to exceed 51 meters, and the wingspan will be more than 18 meters. The maximum take-off weight of the machine will be almost 55 tons. It is known that AS2 will be equipped with three engines.

Recall in May it became known that another developer of the future supersonic passenger aircraft – Boom Supersonic – docked the wing and fuselage of the XB-1. He is a technology demonstrator for Overture, which can carry more than 50 passengers. Earlier it was also reported that they wanted to make the XB-1 test program carbon neutral.

Graduated from Embry-Riddle Aviation University with a master's degree in aviation science. He began his career as an aviation researcher in local periodicals. Has a pilot license. Now are the author and developer of the Plane Worlds.