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Quiet Small Supersonic Transport (QSST)

Supersonic Aerospace International (SAI) on 12 October 2004 revealed that, after three and one-half years of work, it had successfully confirmed the design for the Quiet Small Supersonic Transport (QSST) which will facilitate transcontinental and intercontinental supersonic travel. The QSST will be able to comply with or exceed all applicable environmental standards and FAA rules for takeoff and landing noise.

Revolutionizing modern business travel by removing the greatest obstacle in supersonic travel, a group of aviators, investors, designers and production engineers, with a proven record of success, has tackled the once thought unreachable challenge of suppressing sonic boom, and has designed a jet that will cut by half the travel time between many long-distance destinations.

Unlike any other jet ever built, the QSST uses innovative aerodynamic shaping and employs a patented inverted V-tail, allowing the aircraft to achieve unprecedented levels of sonic boom suppression -- even when flying at least twice the speed of current civil aircraft. Advanced integrated design features reduce sonic boom level to less than 1/100 that of the Concorde.

From the day of original thought conception, the QSST has been designed with a requirement that it must meet or exceed noise, environmental and other prevailing standards. Every designer and engineer has employed their thoughts and innovations to design the QSST to be the revolution in noise and emission technology that it has turned out to be.


Supersonic Aerospace International commissioned Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works design team to build the QSST, because it is among the most experienced in aircraft design and production. The team responsible for the aerodynamic advancements that could lead to all aircraft flying at supersonic speed is also the developer other precedent-setting aircraft. Skunk Works is the builder of one of the first business jets, Jetstar, the SR-71, the F-117 Stealth Fighter, and the F/A-22 Raptor.

The QSST program has been managed by J. Michael Paulson, son of leading aerospace pioneer Allen Paulson, using funds Allen Paulson left in trust for this project. The QSST is the only jet with a patented design to produce an aerodynamically shaped sonic boom signature making it possible to secure legal permission to fly supersonic over populated land areas throughout the world.

"The QSST is a giant leap in speed, productivity, and comfort. It will define the future of business, commercial and government travel in the 21st Century," said J. Michael Paulson. "Cruising at supersonic speeds for over 4,000 nautical miles, this revolutionary aircraft will transport 12 passengers to many global destinations in one-half the travel time. Operating from ordinary worldwide runways, it will travel at speeds of Mach 1.6 and 1.8 with the reliability and passenger comfort that the aerospace, commercial and business communities have come to expect."

SAI's successful design of the QSST was achieved by placing Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works under contract to develop the aircraft design. Lockheed Martin has over 50-years of experience designing and producing innovative high-altitude, high-speed aircraft.

"The design team has overcome significant engineering challenges to design an aircraft incorporating advanced supersonic cruise and breakthrough sonic boom suppression technologies that allow it to cruise efficiently and quietly over long ranges. It will offer comfort, reliability and safety. Our sonic boom mitigation techniques have been validated through extensive tests and analysis," said J. Michael Paulson.

General Electric, Pratt & Whitney, and Rolls-Royce have provided original, competing engine concepts for possible placement in the QSST. Applying the latest engine technologies all three companies have developed engine concepts that provide highly efficient cruise while retaining quiet airport operations that meet or exceed current and future noise regulations. The latest emissions reduction technologies ensure that QSST satisfies all environment concerns -- worldwide.

SAI has developed a jet capable of producing unsurpassed performance while maintaining the highest levels of dispatch availability, operating reliability and regulatory compliance. The QSST will meet, or exceed, all current and anticipated FAA aircraft airport noise and environmental standards as it requires no afterburning engine and produces low en route and takeoff emissions. In addition to the Skunk Works' design, SAI has relied on notable aviation consultants Clay Lacy and Bob Cooper and the counsel of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP in creating this environmentally sound passenger aircraft. It fulfills and integrates decades of international accomplishment in advanced aerospace design, and will forever transform how people view and use air travel.

Supersonic Aerospace International, LLC (SAI) was founded by J. Michael Paulson in 2001 for the Allen E. Paulson Living Trust to carry on the vision of his father, Allen Paulson, legendary aviation pioneer and former owner of Gulfstream [whod died in July 2000]. SAI provided funding for Lockheed Martin Skunk Works' Phase 1 efforts to assess the feasibility of bringing QSST to market and is now leading the drive to bring QSST to reality.

In 2009, the price of a Quiet Supersonic Transport business jet was reported as around $80 million.

Quiet Small Supersonic Transport (QSST-X)

In 2009 the patents and intellectual property were licensed with a prominent aviation and investment captial group for 18 months. The concept stalled in 2010 amid a dispute between licence holders on more than 20 patents held by SAI over the direction of the company in the wake of the post-2007 global financial crisis. The project was on hiatus after it became bogged down in licensing and patent disputes, suffered from the post-2007 financial crisis, and disagreements about the size of the plane. There were also problems related to the originally proposed aluminum-lithium fuselage and lack of progress on the development of a subsonic turbine engine adapted to supersonic aircraft.

The new larger QSST-X business jet/airliner aircraft was disclosed in March 2013. After a three-year hiatus, Supersonic Aerospace International (SAI) resurrected the quiet supersonic transport (QSST) and relaunched the concept as much larger, Boeing 737-sized aircraft to operate as an all-first-class airliner. SAI re-imagined the QSST as a much larger aircraft with 4,500nm (8,330km) range, 20-30 seats with 48in (122cm) pitch and catering to the niche market for all-first class airline routes.

Such a concept scales up the QSST-X to a maximum take-off weight of about 90,700kg (200,000lb), Paulsen says. It would remain capable of a cruise speed of Mach 1.6-1.8. SAI would seek to change the aluminium-lithium fuselage conceived in the initial design phase a decade ago to an all-composite structure.

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Page last modified: 29-01-2017 17:00:02 ZULU