LOCKHEED SUPERSONIC PLACE
in the 1950s and ‘60s, Americans filed close to 40,000 claims against the Air Force, whose supersonic jets had become a daily nightmare. in 1973, the FAA banned overland supersonic commercial flights due to sonic booms, which to this day, hasn’t been lifted.
The laws of atmospheric physics dictate that no matter how a supersonic vehicle is shaped or propelled it will generate a sonic boom when it exceeds the speed of sound. Thanks to NASA and a team led by Lockheed Martin, low-sonic-boom X-plane might soon become a breakthrough defying this laws. The team is working on the goal of a viable low-sonic-boom commercial travel jet.
Michael buonanno, chief engineer for NASA’S Quiet Supersonic Technology (QUESST) X-plane program, said the foundation was laid from 2010 to 2013 with the N+2 Supersonic Validations Program. “We worked with NASA to develop the necessary design tools and experimental techniques to accurately shape the vehicle so that its sonic-boom signature will be perceived as a sonic heartbeat sound rather than the typical loud double-bang that today’s supersonic aircraft produce,” buonanno said.
“We have got to the point where we think a flight demonstrator is the right next step,” says Peter Coen, manager of NASA’S High Speed Project with the agency’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate’s Fundamental Aeronautics Program. “On the whole, our work has showed there is a path forward to an environmentally acceptable supersonic aircraft, and it has generated such a lot
of excitement within NASA that we are ready to take the next step. What does that step look like? We think a low-boom flight demonstrator is the way to go forward. it is the right thing for u.s. aerospace leadership and for developing the market for supersonic flight.”
The N+2 Supersonic holds the secret to quiet supersonic commercial travel. it’s a part of NASA’S 10-year New Aviation Horizons initiations which aims to reduce fuel use, emissions and noise through breakthroughs in aircraft design that departs from the conventional tube-and-wing aircraft shape.