With most business models, you identify a demand and then supply the product or service that meets the demand. That’s not quite the case with Spike Aerospace and its supersonic business jet, the S-512, says Tom Captain, an aviation-industry veteran who recently joined the Boston-based company as an executive advisor.
“This aircraft will actually create demand. It’s not just going to address existing demand,” says Captain, who recently retired from Deloitte, where he was vice chairman and led the company’s aerospace division. “Just like what’s happened with Elon Musk’s SpaceX and others that are introducing relatively low-cost access to outer space. Because these companies came along, they’ve created demand for satellite launches that didn’t exist before.
“We expect that this airplane will create demand for those who are willing to pay about 20 to 30 percent more than a [large-cabin, ultralong-range] business jet, because they can get to their destination twice as fast,” says Captain. “Time is money for businesspeople.”
Priced at $100 million, the S-512 has a projected top speed of Mach 1.6, or 1,100 mph, which, according to Spike, is 450 mph faster than any other civilian aircraft. Just as significant, the boom it produces when it breaks the sound barrier will be quiet enough by the time it reaches the ground to allow for travel at supersonic speeds over land masses with sound restrictions.
“The future of commercial and business travel in the air will involve a revolution in four different ways,” says Captain, explaining why he joined Spike. “One is speed, the second is propulsion, the third is payload and range, and fourth is autonomous controls. I was interested in getting involved in something groundbreaking on one of those four dimensions.”