Hermeus is an Atlanta-based aerospace company focused on developing a hypersonic aircraft founded by AJ Piplica, Skyler Shuford, Michael Smayda and Glenn Case.

Hermeus is a developer of hypersonic aircraft for commercial travel and military aviation. The company's platform is developing aircraft with the goal of massively reduced flight times and increased safety for long haul and business class air travel, enabling businesses to operate with minimal changes to current aviation infrastructure. Hermeus wants to develop vehicles that can fly in excess of Mach 5, over 3,000 miles per hour (4,800 km/h). At these speeds, a flight from New York to London is reduced from 7 hours to 90 minutes. The company was founded in 2018 and headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.

Combined Cycle Engine

In early 2020, Hermeus was able to demonstrate a subscale engine prototype and the core design of its technology perform as intended. The demonstration was able to simulate flight at Mach 3.3 at 65,000 feet in a windtunnel simulation. The prototype was built using an off-the-shelf turbojet capable of operation at 533 knots (988 km/h) at a maximum altitude of 25,000 feet.

With it's October 2020 funding, the company is looking to expand it's Atlanta-based test facility to include in-house manufacturing and continue to design their debut aircraft.

To achieve their results, Hermeus is focused on using existing technology and materials rather than finding or founding any new technologies or materials. And to that end, the company developed a combined cycle turbofan design that fuses a normal turbofan engine and a ramjet into a single engine.

Hermeus's combined cycle engine during testing.

This combines the turbofan engines linear air movement through the engine with a ramjet engine, where the ramjet engine is designed to ram greater amounts of air into the engine using the forward sped of the aircraft and achieve greater thrust. The usual complexity of ramjet engines is that they do not work at subsonic speeds and are envisioned as separate engines or as a rocket booster. The combined cycle engine seeks to solve this problem through a switching between one engine type for take-off and landing, and another for reaching hypersonic speeds.

Hermeus has also worked towards solving the thermal problems of supersonic speed, namely the increase of temperature in the air passing through the engine which decreases the ramjet's efficiency. The company says they have solved this problem using a pre-cooler to chill incoming air before it enters the combustion chamber.

Air Force One

In August 2020, the United States Air Force awarded Hermeus a $1.5 million contract to asses modifying the company's in-development Mach 5 jet into an aircraft for the Presidential and Executive Airlift fleet.

Hermeus Air Force One Concept


October 29, 2020
Supersonic aircraft startup Hermeus raises $16 million Series A
October 29, 2020
Hermeus raises a $16,000,000 series A round from Bling Capital, Canaan Partners, Khosla Ventures and Revolution's Rise of the Rest Seed Fund.
October 2020
Hermeus raises a $16,000,000 series A round from Bling Capital, Canaan Partners, Khosla Ventures and Rest.
August 6, 2020
Hermeus announced a contract with the US Air Force and the Presidential and Executive Airlift Directorate to develop a hypersonic aircraft for the presidential fleet.
May 13, 2019
Hermeus announces seed funding, with former Blue Origin president as adviser

Funding rounds

Funding round
Funding type
Funding round amount (USD)
Funding round date
Hermeus Series A round, October 2020
October 29, 2020
3 Results
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AJ Piplica

Founder and CEO

Glenn Case

Founder and CTO

Michael Smayda

Founder and CPO

Skyler Shuford

Founder and COO

Further reading


Startup Hermeus Wants to Build a Hypersonic Jet That Flies at 5 Times the Speed of Sound

Doris Elin Urrutia


May 19, 2019

Documentaries, videos and podcasts





Connie Loizos
December 3, 2020
Ben Ling is as done with 2020 as the rest of us, but certainly for him, the year could be worse. Ling, who founded his own venture outfit in 2018 -- naming it Bling Capital (a nickname from way back) -- just closed on $113 million in capital commitments across two new funds: a seed-focused [...]
November 1, 2020
The Pulse of New York Tech


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