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Aerion diversifies to meet airframer demand for subsonic natural laminar flow solutions

Aerion Corporation announced at this week's European Business Aviation Conference and Exposition (booth 839) that increased market demand for natural laminar flow (NLF) expertise has driven the company to launch Aerion Technologies a service than enables aircraft manufacturers to integrate Aerion NLF design technologies into faster and more efficient subsonic products. This activity will serve as a highly specialized aerodynamics consultancy for airframers, while Aerion also continues engineering activities for its planned 8-12 passenger supersonic business jet (SBJ).

"Discussions with multiple aircraft manufacturers, especially in recent months, have clearly demonstrated to us that there is demand to expand our services to include our natural laminar flow engineering for subsonic applications," said Robert M. Bass, chairman of Aerion and president of Keystone Group, LP. "The aviation industry is prepared to embrace and fund disruptive technology for significant, quantifiable gains."

Aerion has found that the same proprietary technologies and design tools that will enable a practical SBJ also can be a game-changer in subsonic and transonic applications. During the past 10 years, Aerion has developed one of the industry's most extensive portfolios of NLF test data and methods for optimizing its application to aircraft design, as well as assuring practical manufacturing and operational aspects. Aerion Technologies' NLF technology and design tools will help airframers push speed and efficiency limits for next-generation aircraft.

"Civil and military aircraft manufacturers are under increasing pressure to develop next-generation aircraft that can deliver enhanced range, efficiency and other performance parameters," said Aerion Vice Chairman Brian Barents. "And while I can't divulge which airframers are interested in our technology, I can say that the discussions are extremely promising and cover a wide range of emerging aircraft types and missions."

Laminar flow has been perhaps the most neglected variable available to aircraft manufacturers and yet it may be the single most beneficial way to squeeze further substantial improvements in efficiency, range and speed. Under laminar boundary layer flow conditions, the skin friction is reduced by about 90% compared to the default turbulent layer. Achieving the contours necessary to achieve extensive laminar flow conditions requires the coalescing of new technologies, including the ability to rapidly assess and optimize NLF configurations using computational fluid dynamics programs created specifically for the purpose. These have been developed by Aerion and verified in flight and wind tunnel tests, as have manufacturing and operational criteria to assure practical achievement of intended NLF advantages.

"While all airframers are becoming increasingly aware of this potential, the technology has not generally been available in usable form to business aircraft manufacturers," noted Dr. Richard Tracy, chief technology officer. "Thus, manufacturers who wanted to exploit this disruptive technology to remain competitive had no choice until now except to begin the long process of developing in-house expertise in integrating NLF into their design processes, requiring development of advanced viscous analysis and design optimization codes incorporating boundary layer transition analysis. Aerion Technologies offers ready-for-use, proven tools and expertise developed during more than a decade of analysis and tests."

Press release issued by Aerion Corporation on May 16, 2011


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