Spike Aviation to Produce Supersonic Passenger Jet by 2023

Aircraft would take over Concorde’s role in high demand market.

Since the last Concorde flight in 2003, supersonic flight has been absent from the commercial aviation industry despite ongoing demand for high end, high-speed travel. Spike Aerospace intends to take a leadership role in that market by developing a commercial supersonic aircraft by 2023.

Spike S-512 Quiet Supersonic Jet.

Spike S-512 Quiet Supersonic Jet.
Spike jet promises quiet supersonic flight over land.

Spike jet promises quiet supersonic flight over land.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Spike CEO Vik Kachoria spoke about his company’s S-512 Quiet Supersonic Jet, an aircraft for 12-18 passengers that would reach a speed of Mach 1.6 (1,100 mph) at cruising altitude and could make a trip from London to Hong Kong nonstop. Each jet would cost about $125 million.

One of the most significant factors that led to the Concorde’s grounding was complaints about the sonic boom. The Concorde produced such a tremendous sonic boom effect that it was restricted to flights over transoceanic routes—primarily New York City to London or Paris. Current FAA regulations prohibit the operation of a civil aircraft in the U.S. at a speed greater than Mach 1—a law created in response to the sound the Concorde would make when it broke the sound barrier.

Spike is working to overcome that obstacle. “You’ve got to be able to fly people … without creating a sonic boom, without disturbing people on the ground. It’s a very loud, disturbing sound,” said Kachoria. “Spike Aerospace has been developing a technology to cut that sonic boom down tremendously.”

That technology is Spike’s proprietary Quiet Supersonic Flight (QSF) innovation, which is being developed to minimize the sonic boom effect by optimizing aerodynamic design. QSF would allow the aircraft to reach its full cruising speed of Mach 1.6. The company expects the sonic signature of the aircraft will be less than 75PLdb (perceived loudness level) at ground level, sounding more like a soft clap or muted background noise. In comparison, the Concorde’s PLdp was 105.

Kachoria predicts that the cost of a ticket on his company’s aircraft will be about the same as a business class trip today. The company is working with two major airlines on potential partnerships and on determining what the aircraft needs to meet the airlines’ requirements. Kachoria predicts that by the time the S-512 is in commercial use, about 13 million passengers—primarily business executives—would have the interest and the means to fly supersonic flights.

“Time is critically important to a lot of business travelers,” he said.

Read more about the race to replace the Concorde at Commercial Supersonic Jet Undergoes NASA Vetting.