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Eugene aviation supplier lands 'monumental' supersonic opportunity

“It’s going to be a cabin unlike anything anyone has ever seen."

Posted: Feb 3, 2021 1:13 PM
Updated: Feb 3, 2021 4:46 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- History has been made at Rosen Aviation, the Eugene-based global leader in aircraft cabin electronics.

An exciting partnership was recently formed with Aerion Supersonic, the world’s first supersonic business jet.

Now, Rosen Aviation has the opportunity to develop cutting-edge technology that will bring the passenger experience to an even greater level by growing Aerion’s Cabin Management & Technology System.

KEZI 9 News talked to Lee Clark, the Senior Vice President for Rosen Aviation.

“What it means for Eugene and Oregon as a whole is elevating the technical position and the thought leadership for the state and across the whole world,” Clark said. “This is a global opportunity.”

Aerion Supersonic is also the first commercially-available supersonic jet since the retirement of Concorde.

Rosen Aviation has nearly 40 years under their belt. As they put it, this is more than just in-flight entertainment or displays.

There will be virtual skylights, artificial intelligence and even the chance to look out of a window and the software can tell you exactly what you're looking at.

While Rosen Aviation’s prime market is business aviation, they’ll now be migrating to commercial aviation -- as well as other avenues.

Jeremy Kneuper just began his role as the company’s Senior System Architect. Kneuper was formerly the head of Research and Development at Textron Aviation, which is a Cessna aircraft brand.

He said appealing to the five senses is critical within the aircrafts they are making.

“You can buy an airplane from just about anybody now, but it's really about the experience you're going to have in an aircraft that’s going to make the difference on why you buy that,” Kneuper said.

There’s more good news. The partnership will also expand job opportunities.

“Once we get to 2022 and 2023, we’re going to need more engineering,” Kneuper said. “We’re going to need more manufacturers to help grow what we’re building in the area, and Eugene is situated perfectly to do that.”

KEZI 9 News also spoke to Justin Watson, who serves as the company’s Customer Success Manager. He’s a lifelong Eugene resident, having graduated from Willamette High School and then the University of Oregon.

He described the partnership as a “monumental opportunity.”

“It’s going to be a cabin unlike anything anyone has ever seen,” Watson said. “We’re going to have the artificial intelligence, machine learning and human machine interface aspects of it which will be a first -- absolutely.”

While the actual delivery won't take place until 2027, the partnership is a major step for the Eugene-based company as they expand technology even further all to create a better flight experience for passengers.

Test flights will begin in 2025 or 2026.

“My personal goal is to maintain my affiliation with the project and to see it through to the end of the revision and then the revisions that will follow -- to the point where Eugene and Rosen is a place people associate with aviation and cutting edge technology,” Watson said.

Rosen Aviation was selected out of nearly a dozen organizations, including some top global leaders.

“I think what Rosen displayed was a level of innovation, leadership and a culture that mirrored our new partners at Aerion,” Clark said.

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