NASA is claiming a breakthrough in supersonic aircraft design. Recent wind-tunnel tests are proving that it should be possible to design aircraft configurations that combine low sonic boom with low cruise drag - two traits once thought to be mutually exclusive. And, until now, stubbornly elusive!
Peter Coen, NASA’s Supersonic Fixed-Wing project manager, recently indicated that aircraft design tools could produce a supersonic business jet capable of (seemingly) unrestricted overland flying. The actual tests were performed utilizing small scale models of supersonic jets designed by Boeing and Lockheed Martin. Service entry is estimated to be around the year 2025. Seems like an eternity!
|N+3 supersonic airliner concept: Lockheed Martin|
Such a breakthrough seems to really start "connecting the dots" between futuristic, theoretical (but very cool) designs previously published by Lockheed Martin and Boeing. And, even though travel on these beasts would, at first, be limited to the very rich, how cool would it be to have breakfast in Paris and lunch in New York?
|N+2 supersonic airliner concept: Boeing|
“We’ve broken the low-boom/low-drag paradox, where you could get one, not both,” Peter Coen was quoted as saying. He further went on to say...“They achieved low boom with a good level of supersonic cruise lift-to-drag.”
Flight tests using an F-18 fighter were also conduced at Edwards AFB, the effort being to measure the public reaction to shaped sonic booms. Still, pressure is now growing for a low-boom supersonic demonstration. Stay tuned for more updates.
Source: AVIATION WEEK