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Wed, Sep 26, 2007

NBAA 2007: Aerion Updates Progress Of SST Business Jet

New Laminar Flow Flight Tests Planned; Search Continues For OEM

Aerion Corporation told attendees at this week's NBAA 2007 conference in Atlanta the company's supersonic business jet design has reached an advanced stage of refinement... and Aerion continues in discussions with major aircraft manufacturers to produce the aircraft.

These discussions have progressed beyond technical evaluations and now focus on the company's business case, presented by Aerion CFO James Stewart. Aerion's goal is to recruit an OEM partner to manage the certification effort, serve as lead integrator and assure the highest level of production capability and product support.

"Discussions with potential partners have elicited strong interest," said Aerion Vice Chairman Brian Barents, "in part because Aerion intends to be an active participant in sharing the program's financial risk, and also because Aerion intends to continue its technical involvement in the development of the aircraft."

Aerion anticipates a five-year development program from formal launch and a development cost of about $2.2 billion in 2005 dollars.

"We've also seen a very enthusiastic response from potential operators throughout the world," Barents added, "and this contributes to our optimism." Since conducting its own marketing study three years ago with long-range jet operators mainly based in the U.S. and Europe, new markets for these aircraft have burgeoned in other parts of the world, including Asia, Russia and the Middle East.

"If anything, our potential market is growing because of demand from areas that only a few years ago were not major markets for long-range business jets," Barents added.

The company continues an active test regime. Aerion's flight tests and rocket sled tests have so far demonstrated expected levels of supersonic laminar flow under conditions representative of actual flight.

Amid heightened awareness in the aviation community about environmental impact, Aerion continues to work closely with engine provider Pratt & Whitney to ensure that the airframe/engine combination will meet all applicable noise and emissions standards. Because the aircraft will cruise well below the ozone layer, it will have no greater impact on the environment than current large business aircraft, according to the company.



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