Tim Fagan – Director, Industrial Design & Head of Cabin Development, Aerion Supersonic
How long have you been at your current organization?
I have been part of the Aerion team for just over a year now, based at our Reno, NV headquarters.
What are your responsibilities within your organization?
I am directing the Industrial Design activity for the AS2 development and leading the overall development of the Cabin as an overall system and user experience. This involves defining the cabin configuration (sizing , dimensions, system layout) as part of the overall aircraft integration, the various ways we can arrange and customize the cabin interior, and defining with our internal team and our supplier/partners the individual systems that comprise the cabin: seating, cabinetry, lighting, cabin technology, etc. We are also planning the tools that we will need to meet with our customers to configure and customize their own AS2 aircraft.
Describe a typical day or week in your role.
One of the exciting aspects of Aerion is the breadth and variety of activity – we are building both a company and a revolutionary aircraft from the ground-up so there’s plenty of variation and collaboration with different stakeholders every day.
My week is divided into many different branches of collaboration within Aerion and our partners. The cabin engineering and technical development involves technical integration meetings with the other disciplines and systems, which is particularly critical now as we approach PDR next year. Aerion has a very open working culture, and there is a focus on making sure that individual aircraft components are designed with input and awareness from all other interfacing systems – there are truly no silos in this aircraft development.
We also of course work with our partners for cabin components to develop the customer experience and also the technical requirements needed to bring our vision to certification and delivery. Now is a particularly exciting time as we’re building mock-ups of the AS2 cabin and seeing our ideas come to life.
We are constantly testing and researching new materials and technologies that can help us enhance the customer experience. We’re in the unique position of starting on a new aircraft from the ground-up so we can shape things without limitation. We seek out inspiration from a variety of design segments beyond aviation – automotive, architecture, consumer electronics, fashion, and other design to inform our thinking.
My team also collaborates closely with the Marketing and Sales teams, meeting with customers directly to share details of our development and gather their feedback and guidance.
What do you love most about your job?
The mix between creative and technical design and thinking is one of the most interesting elements of what I do. As an Industrial Designer I am focused on designing products and features that deliver a great experience for the user through great functionality, comfort, aesthetic excellence – as well as how to make it manufacturable, safe, and reliable. The beauty of designing aircraft cabins is that the overall environment must be perfect as a unified space for working, relaxing, living – but that each component – seating, lighting, galley design, storage, technology, screen-based user interfaces… are themselves individual design activities and their own area of specialty. We get to define the specific details of those components, and also to combine these individual components into a unified whole, with the aim of delivering an experience that is unique to supersonic flight aboard the AS2.
The business jet segment has a history of excellence in performance and design, and our aim at Aerion is to lead and define the next evolution of high-speed travel into the 2030s and beyond.
Why did working in the Business Aviation industry interest you, and how did you get started?
I’ve always been interested in aviation and aerospace, and early in my career I began working on aircraft interior development, initially for commercial aircraft cabins but quickly moving to business aircraft.
My entry into the aviation segment was as an Industrial Designer, but I also had the opportunity of working directly with customers to develop specific individual aircraft completions, and I find that each of those experiences strongly reinforces the other.
Who or what has been your greatest professional influence?
Earlier in my career I had the opportunity to work on the design and technical side of cabin development, and I also worked directly with customers. In an industry where the designers aren’t necessarily users of the end product this was a transformational experience. Though aircraft development is of course a very specialized and technical discipline, the passenger is physically closest to the cabin, where the physical experience of flying takes place – a very human and personal experience. Bringing the cabin environment to life and really being at the juxtaposition of design and engineering is a compelling experience.
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Curious. Collaborative. Optimistic.
What one item would you never travel without on a long-haul flight?
Good headphones – no question. They allow you to create your own ambiance for working, relaxing, sleeping or watching a movie in real comfort.
A couple of charging cables to keep devices powered up is also critical!
Finally, what is your hidden talent or hobby?
I am actually a musician of sorts – I play keyboards, guitar, a bit of bass and drums, and can sing when the situation arises. I’m not a virtuoso by any stretch, but I have fun!
About Aerion Supersonic
Aerion is founded on a core belief of bringing humanity closer. The company’s vision is a future where humanity can travel between any two points on our planet within three hours using new transportation networks – powered by clean energy solutions and enabling a world where distance is no longer a barrier. The starting point is sustainable supersonic flight, led by the world’s first supersonic business jet – the AS2. More information can be found at www.aerionsupersonic.com.
SIGN UP FOR OUR MONTHLY JETSTREAM RECAP
Don't miss future Jetstream articles. Sign up for our Jetcraft News mailing list to receive a monthly eblast with links to our latest articles. Click to join the 1,800+ subscribers on our mailing list.