Supersonic bizjet? Don't hold your breath says Gulfstream....

Gulfstream has demonstrated the long legs and high-speed of its latest, and most advanced product to-date, the G650, by flying it westbound around the world in a record beating 41 hours, 7 minutes. 

The flight, which began in San Diego, Calif, on July 1, covered 20,310 nautical miles and included stops in Guam, Dubai and Cape Verde, before returning to San Diego. The flight was flown at the G650’s high-speed cruise setting of Mach 0.9.

With 36 G650s in service now, Gulfstream is getting interesting feedback about the aircraft and its attributes – particularly its speed. “The thing most people talk about is the speed,” says Gulfstream president of product support Mark Burns. 

So all this underlines what Gulfstream and many other aircraft makers already know – the need for speed remains compelling. But is the time finally ripe for the long-anticipated jump to supersonic flight and the development of the elusive faster-than-sound business jet? After all, Gulfstream has done more than perhaps any other airframe maker to promote the concept, and recently filed a patent for a low/no-sonic boom design that could yet form the basis for a high-speed NASA X-plane demonstrator dubbed the X-54. 

blog post photo

But the reality remains starkly different says Gulfstream senior VP marketing and sales Scott Neal. “In order to make the market viable for supersonics you have to make it feasible to fly overland faster than sound – which is currently against the law. We don’t think there is a viable market until you change that.”  

Aerion’s long running supersonic design work, by contrast, generally assumes no change in this law, and depends for its viability on high subsonic speed overland and supersonic dash speeds over water. “It’s basically too early to determine yet when this will happen,” says Neal.

Please or Register to post comments.

What's Things With Wings?

Aviation Week's civil aviation blog

From The Archives

Aviation Week is approaching its 100th anniversary in 2016. In a series of blogs, our editors highlight editorial content from the magazine's long and rich history.


Aug 27, 2015

Aviation Week Lifts Veil On Boeing B-52 Bomber (1952) 12

In 1952, Aviation Week provided the first details on the new Boeing B-52 bomber....More
Aug 14, 2015

Bonanza Travel Pays 3

The legendary Beechcraft Bonanza has an impressive production record, so perhaps the marketers back in 1949 were onto something when they coined the phrase "Bonanza travel pays."...More
Aug 14, 2015

Venerable Boeing 727 Prototype To Fly Again 28

The most famous 727, the prototype aircraft which would join United as N7001U, was delivered to the airline in October 1964 having served its time as a Boeing test aircraft....More
Aug 13, 2015

Aviation Week And The Bomb

Aviation News did not predict how nuclear weapons would change the world. But neither did anyone else....More
Aug 13, 2015

Collins Radar Takes The Ups And Downs Out Of Flying

Turbulence? Rockwell Collins had a solution for those bumpy rides in the early 80s with its WXR-700 Doppler Weather Radar....More
Blog Archive
Penton Corporate

Sponsored Introduction Continue on to (or wait seconds) ×