Aerion, the leader in supersonic flight, has promoted Peter Sturdza to Vice President of Flight Sciences. Sturdza, previously deputy chief engineer at Aerion, has been with the company since earning a PhD in aerodynamics from Stanford University in 2003, and has played a key role in developing advanced wing and other aerodynamic concepts.
“We are building the organization that will build the first civil supersonic jet in half a century. The Aerion AS2 will launch a renaissance in supersonic flight that will dramatically shorten travel times, shrink the world, and stimulate commercial and cultural interaction,” said Aerion President Tom Vice, who is leading the design and production effort.
“Peter is a brilliant and creative leader who is heading an equally brilliant team in the design of our revolutionary AS family of supersonic aircraft, starting with the AS2 business jet,” said Vice.
As a graduate student at Stanford, Sturdza became intrigued with the potential for supersonic applications of laminar flow technology after hearing a guest lecture by Dr. Richard Tracy. Tracy, an expert in hypersonic and supersonic aerodynamics, and at that time a design consult to DARPA and others, posited that supersonic laminar flow could greatly improve the efficiency of a supersonic jet, overcoming some of the previous obstacles to commercial success in this category. Tracy later founded Aerion with Robert Bass, with Sturdza as one of the company’s first employees.
As part of his PhD thesis, Sturdza laid the foundation for what became Aerion’s proprietary boundary layer transition software. By predicting the transition from laminar air flow around a wing to turbulent airflow, Aerion has demonstrated supersonic wing performance with over 80 percent natural laminar flow—all the way aft to the hinge line for flaps and ailerons. This breakthrough work has become the core enabling technology for the Aerion AS2 supersonic jet.
Sturdza earned a B.S. in Engineering and Applied Science from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and both Master’s and PhD degrees in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford. He has worked on advanced design programs at Harvard University, Caltech, and Bell Helicopter. Sturdza is a passionate aviator and FAA-certificated flight instructor.