General Electric Co. has completed its initial design for the first commercial supersonic aircraft engine in five decades, a major hurdle for developing private planes and, perhaps eventually, jetliners that fly faster than the speed of sound.
The twin-shaft, twin-fan design will slash travel times by hours after 50 years in which the average speed of private jets has increased only 10 percent, GE said in a statement Monday. The engine is being designed for Aerion, a startup backed by Texas billionaire Robert Bass, who has been trying to develop a supersonic business jet for more than a decade.
“Instead of going faster, cabins have increased in size and become more comfortable and range has become longer,” Brad Mottier, GE vice president for business aviation, said in a statement. “The next step is speed.”
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Fort Worth billionaire Robert Bass’ supersonic jet ambitions are a step closer to reality