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Virgin Galactic Unveils New Mach 3 Supersonic Jet & Collaboration With Rolls-Royce

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Virgin Galactic announces new Mach 3 supersonic jet and collaboration with Rolls-Royce to design and develop the engine propulsion technology.
Virgin Galactic Mach 3 Supersonic Jet
The new Virgin Galactic Mach 3 Supersonic Jet will be three times faster than the speed of sound. Credit: Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic has recently announced the new Mach 3 super jet and its intent to collaborate with Rolls-Royce on developing the engine propulsion technology needed to take the Mach 3 to new heights and travel three times faster than the speed of sound.

Self-described as a “vertically-integrated aerospace and space travel company pioneering human spaceflight for private individuals and researchers,” Virgin Galactic is continuing its mission to advance air and space vehicles, revealing for the first time their new delta-winged Mach 3 super jet to be developed in collaboration with Rolls-Royce.

Virgin Galactic Mach 3 Super Jet Rolls Royce FAA
One very fast flight for up to 19 passengers. Credit: Virgin Galactic

Designed to carry up to 19 passengers at an altitude of 60,000 feet and reach a top speed of 2,300mph/3700kmh, the new Mach 3 Super Jet could travel between London and New York in just under 1.5 hours. It would take off and land like a regular passenger aircraft at existing airports worldwide and ntegrate into existing airport infrastructure.

To build the technology needed to make this happen, Virgin Galactic has signed a memorandum of intent with high Mach propulsion specialists, Rolls-Royce (not to be confused with Rolls-Royce Motorcars), who already have experience in creating the only civil-certified commercial aircraft capable of supersonic flight – aka the Concorde.

Virgin Galactic Mach 3 Super Jet Rolls Royce
Passengers will fly at altitudes up to 60,000 feet. Credit: Virgin Galactic

George Whitesides, Chief Space Officer, Virgin Galactic, shared, “We are excited to complete the Mission Concept Review and unveil this initial design concept of a high speed aircraft, which we envision as blending safe and reliable commercial travel with an unrivalled customer experience. We are pleased to collaborate with the innovative team at Rolls-Royce as we strive to develop sustainable, cutting-edge propulsion systems for the aircraft, and we are pleased to be working with the FAA to ensure our designs can make a practical impact from the start. We have made great progress so far, and we look forward to opening up a new frontier in high speed travel.”

“We are excited to partner with Virgin Galactic and TSC to explore the future of sustainable high speed flight,” said Rolls-Royce North America Chairman & CEO Tom Bell. “Rolls-Royce brings a unique history in high speed propulsion, going back to the Concorde, and offers world-class technical capabilities to develop and field the advanced propulsion systems needed to power commercially available high-Mach travel.”

Virgin Galactic Mach 3 Super Jet Rolls Royce Left Side Profile
At a top speed of 2,300mph/3700kmh passengers could fly from NY to London in 1.5 hours. Credit: Virgin Galactic

The new Mach 3 super jet’s design philosophy is focused on making high-speed travel practical, sustainable, safe, and reliable while keeping customer experience a top priority. The super jet can be configured for a range of operational scenarios, including service for passengers on long-distance commercial aviation routes, and can offer business or first-class seating arrangements.

Virgin Galactic has been previously working closely with international regulatory communities to ensure compliance with safety and environmental standards and are now working with FAA’s Center for Emerging Concepts and Innovation to outline a certification framework during the pre-project guidance phase.

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Bombardier To End Production of the Iconic Learjet

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Bombardier Jets has announced production of the iconic Learjet will end after nearly 60 years of production and 3000 new builds.
The latest Learjet 75 Liberty will be one of the last models to be made in 2021. Credit: Bombardier
The latest Learjet 75 Liberty will be one of the last models to be made when production ends in 2021. Credit: Bombardier

Inspired by Swiss fighter aircraft and first made famous in the 60’s by celebrities like Frank Sinatra, the Learjet’s days will be coming to a close as Bombardier axes the smaller jet to allow the company to focus on the more larger and profitable Challenger and Global aircraft families.

From its first flight on 7th October 1963, the Learjet had been a favorite choice for private and business aviation, with members of the original Rat Pack frequently using the Learjet as a mode of transport to jet between glamorous locations.

Bombardier will end production of Learjets by Q4 of 2021. Credit: Bombardier
Bombardier will end production of Learjets by Q4 of 2021. Credit: Bombardier

Unfortunately for Learjet, as newer technologies developed and competition from brands like Embraer and Cessna increased, Learjet could not keep pace with the demand for faster flights and more cabin space.

Learjet remained popular for many years with ultra-wealthy clients. Credit: Bombardier
Learjet remained popular for many years with ultra-wealthy clients. Credit: Bombardier

Bombardier spokesman Mark Masluch noted, “Less equipped aircraft at smaller price points drove demand,” while a recent statement from Bombardier referenced a lack of profitability and the need for a cost-cutting plan as reason for ending of production and the subsequent reduction of its workforce by 1,600 positions.

Modern cabin of the Learjet 75 Liberty. Credit: Bombardier
Modern cabin of the Learjet 75 Liberty. Credit: Bombardier

“With more than 3,000 aircraft delivered since its entry-into-service in 1963, the iconic Learjet aircraft has had a remarkable and lasting impact on business aviation”, shared Eric Martel, Bombardier Jets President and CEO. “However, given the increasingly challenging market dynamics, we have made this difficult decision to end Learjet production.”

Bombardier will still support existing Learjet models for maintenance and upgrades. Credit: Bombardier
Bombardier will still support existing Learjet models for maintenance and upgrades. Credit: Bombardier

Now, after nearly 60 years, Bombardier will be calling it a day on the Learjet in Q4 later this year, but the company has revealed the Learjet headquarters in Wichita, Kansas will remain operational and be transformed into a support center for maintenance and upgrades of existing Learjet models.

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Cirrus Aircraft Celebrates 8000th Delivery with 8 Limited Editions

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Cirrus is celebrating the 8000th delivery of their SR Series with a special 8000 Limited Edition SR Series of just 8 models.
The 1-of-8 Cirrus Aircraft 8000 Limited Edition SR Series. Credit: Cirrus Aircraft
The 1-of-8 Cirrus Aircraft 8000 Limited Edition SR Series. Credit: Cirrus Aircraft

Cirrus Aircraft is celebrating the 8000th delivery of their best-selling SR series aircraft and is creating eight “8000 Limited Edition SR Series” models to commemorate the occasion.

Known as the “company that makes the planes with the parachutes,” aka the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System®, Cirrus Aircraft has been building personal aircraft for customers since 1984 and delivered the first SR series aircraft to a customer in 1999.

Now wearing a bright fluoro yellow “Volt 8K” livery designed by Xi Design Studio (Cirrus Aircraft’s in-house personalization team), the 8000th Cirrus aircraft has been delivered to private customer Brad Pierce and was the first of eight 8000 Limited Edition SR Series to be built.

Cirrus SR22T "8000 Limited Edition SR Series". Credit: Brad Pierce
Cirrus SR22T “8000 Limited Edition SR Series”. Credit: Brad Pierce

“The SR Series has an incredible history of innovation, evolution and invention,” said Zean Nielsen, CEO at Cirrus Aircraft. “Our team took that as inspiration to create a Limited Edition that breaks out of the boundaries of traditional aircraft design to reflect the energy and excitement of where we are going next.”

Volt 8K livery with hash line designs from Xi Design Studio. Credit: Brad Pierce
Volt 8K livery with hash line designs from Xi Design Studio. Credit: Brad Pierce

Taking inspiration from the bold markings on the runway, the new Cirrus 8000 Limited Edition SR Series also features vertical hash lines across the rear stabilizer and multiple other locations on the aircraft’s exterior and interior.

The bright “Volt” yellow theme also appears in the interior cabin, matching two-tone stitching and embroidery on the seats and upholstery.

The remaining Cirrus 8000 Limited Edition SR Series aircraft will be delivered to their new owners in a series of events over the coming months.

Cirrus Aircraft SR22T 8000 Limited Edition Brad in Motion Rear View
Hash lines on the rear stabilizer. Credit: Brad Pierce
Cirrus Aircraft SR22T 8000 Limited Edition Brad in Motion Side View
The 8000th Cirrus SR Series aircraft to be delivered since 1999. Credit: Brad Pierce

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Pilatus Configures First 10 Seater PC-24 Super Versatile Jet

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Pilatus has configured and delivered their first 10 seater PC-24 “Super Versatile Jet”” to a US-based customer for corporate use.
Pilatus PC-24 Super Versatile Jet Front Seats

Swiss-based aviation company Pilatus has delivered the first-ever 10 seater PC-24 Super Versatile Jet to a western United States customer.

First introduced to the market in 2018, the Pilatus PC-24 Super Versatile Jet lives up to its name with its ability to land on grass, gravel, snow, or asphalt and can be configured for public, private, or business use like the most recent ten-seater configured for corporate use.

Pilatus PC-24 Super Versatile Jet 10 Seater

For passengers comfort, each seat features a side storage compartment and cup holder along with a USB charging port to ensure passengers can remain connected throughout their trip.

Pilatus PC-24 Super Versatile Jet 10 Seater Commuter

“All of us at Pilatus are pleased to hand over this new PC-24 in the 10-seat commuter configuration. The PC-24 is the only aircraft in its category to offer this level of high-capacity interior for ten passengers. All seats are forward-facing, and internal cargo space of more than 50 cubic feet (1.4 cubic meters) remains accessible in flight,” shared Ignaz Gretener, VP General Aviation of Pilatus. “We expect this configuration will prove very popular with both public and private operators requiring a cost-effective solution for frequent transportation of passengers as an alternative to sending them on the airlines.”

As a “mid-size” jets, the cabin size of the PC-24 is considered spacious for a jet of its size and includes features like individually adjustable seats, a full washroom with a toilet, and a baggage area that is accessible in flight.

Pilatus PC-24 Super Versatile Jet

Inflight catering setups are also available as an option and can be configured with a forward galley at the front of the cabin with stowage for tea & coffee, ice, and catering equipment.

Pilatus’s order book for the PC-24 Super Versatile Jet is already fully booked for 2021, with current orders expected to be delivered in early 2022.

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