For billionaire executives, a 16-hour flight from Los Angeles to Tokyo is just too damn long to spend out of pocket. The Spike Aerospace S-512 promises to cut that time in half, and it won’t cost more than a measly $80 million.
The Boston-based Spike crew is made up of former Airbus, Bombardier, and Gulfstream engineers, along with a handful of entrepreneurs and investors that have set out to create the world’s first supersonic private jet.
Their goal is to create a new breed of business aircraft that can reach a cruising speed of Mach 1.6 (1,218 mph) and a top speed of Mach 1.8 (1,370 mph). At those speeds, the S-512 is theoretically capable of flying from New York to London in less than four hours, all while carrying up to 18 passengers in the opulence they’re accustomed to.
It’s no accident that Spike is quoting flight times over oceans and not the continental U.S. — the FAA prohibits supersonic flight over land, with few exceptions. But Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and even NASA have been working on ways to redesign supersonic aircraft to reduce the boom when breaking the speed of sound, but to no avail.
And Spike isn’t the first to promise a supersonic jet. Aerion announced plans in 2009 to create its own 12-seat supersonic business jet (which, ironically, was pegged to cost $80 million). That jet was supposedly due in 2015 — and Spike’s is promised to take off in December 2018.