NASA

June 20, 2014

NASA Aeronautics makes strides to bring back supersonic passenger travel

NASA F/A-18 mission support aircraft were used to create low-intensity sonic booms during a resaerch project at the agency’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California. The Waveforms and Sonic boom Perception and Response, or WSPR, project gathered data from a select group of more than 100 volunteer Edwards Air Force Base residents on their individual attitudes toward sonic booms produced by aircraft in supersonic flight over Edwards.

The return of supersonic passenger travel may be coming closer to reality thanks to NASA’s efforts to define a new standard for low sonic booms.

Several NASA aeronautics researchers will present their work in Atlanta this week at Aviation 2014, an annual event of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. They will share with the global aviation community the progress they are making in overcoming some of the biggest hurdles to supersonic passenger travel.

The research generates data crucial for developing a low-boom standard for the civil aviation industry. NASA works closely with the Federal Aviation Administration and the international aerospace community, including the International Civil Aviation Organization, to gather data and develop new procedures and requirements that may help in a reconsideration of the current ban on supersonic flight over land.

“Lessening sonic booms – shock waves caused by an aircraft flying faster than the speed of sound – is the most significant hurdle to reintroducing commercial supersonic flight,” said Peter Coen, head of the High Speed Project in NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate at the agency’s Headquarters in Washington. “Other barriers include high altitude emissions, fuel efficiency and community noise around airports.”

Engineers at NASA centers in California, Ohio and Virginia that conduct aviation research are tackling sonic booms from a number of angles, including how to design a low-boom aircraft and characterize the noise. NASA researchers have studied how to quantify the loudness and annoyance of the boom by asking people to listen to the sounds in a specially designed noise test chamber.

A recent flight research campaign at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, had residents explore ways to assess the public’s response to sonic booms in a real-world setting. Researchers at Armstrong have an advantage – pilots are permitted to fly at supersonic speeds because the facility is located on Edwards Air Force Base.

“People here are more familiar with sonic booms,” said Armstrong aerospace engineer Larry Cliatt. “Eventually, we want to take this to a broader level of people who have never heard a sonic boom.”

Similar work is conducted at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, where volunteers from the local community rated sonic booms according to how disruptive they determined the sound to be.

“They each listened to a total of 140 sounds, and based on their average response, we can begin to estimate the general public’s reactions,” explained Langley acoustics engineer Alexandra Loubeau.

She also conducted a study at Langley comparing results from tools used to predict sonic boom noise at ground-level.

“Because of the interaction with the atmosphere, it is important to be as consistent as possible in the implementation and usage of these tools. The comparisons done so far have shown good agreement, but there are some inconsistencies that need to be studied,” Loubeau said.

Other studies are focused on predicting the sonic boom and on design approaches to reducing it. Participants from Japan, the United States and France attended the first Sonic Boom Prediction Workshop, where they evaluated simple configurations – cylindrical bodies with and without wings – and complex full aircraft designs.

“We are working to understand the worldwide state of the art in predicting sonic booms from an aircraft point of view,” said Mike Park, a fluid mechanics engineer at Langley. “We found for simple configurations we can analyze and predict sonic booms extremely well. For complex configurations we still have some work to do.”

Wind tunnels are another tool used to help predict which airplane designs might have quieter booms. The most recent tests were conducted at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., and Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.† Similar to designs of the past, current aircraft designs being tested are characterized by a needle-like nose, a sleek fuselage and a delta wing or highly-swept wings – shapes that result in much lower booms.

NASA and industry engineers say they believe supersonic research has progressed to the point where the design of a practical low-boom supersonic jet is within reach.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

News Briefs March 27, 2015

Enlisted promotion ceremony The Edwards Enlisted Promotion Ceremony is 3 p.m., March 31 in the base theater. Promotees and commanders will be in service dress. Uniform of the day for all other attendees will be uniform of the day or business casual. CPTS delayed opening The 412th Comptroller Squadron will delay opening until 11 a.m.,...
 
 

Pursuing dreams to fly, fight and win

Have you ever been told you didn’t have what it takes while pursuing a goal? Did you believe it? I did. My final year in college, the Reserve Officer Training Corps detachment commander met with each senior to discuss our Air Force future. When asked what I hoped to do, like most of my peers...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Tom Reynolds

Edwards joint maintenance team completes significant JSF propulsion verification event

Lockheed Martin photograph by Tom Reynolds A joint team of U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy maintainers, DOD employees and Pratt and Whitney contractors work on an F135 engine March 17 as part of a week-long to provide verified tec...
 

 
Air Force photograph by Jet Fabara

Edwards heroes save coworker’s life

Air Force photograph by Jet Fabara Left to right: Moses Zamora, Neil Edwards, Robin “Bubba” Hairston, and Derrick Shannon are heavy equipment operators with the 412th Civil Engineer Group who saved the life of their...
 
 

Edwards CAP squadron to host open house

Edwards AFB’s Civil Air Patrol Squadron will host an open house will be held at the Oasis Community Center 6-8 p.m., March 31. The public is invited to attend and enjoy the squadron cadet program demonstrations. Cadets will be sharing their CAP training experience in the following cadet programs: * Aerospace Education including remotely controlled aircraft and...
 
 
pageant

2015 Edwards Royalty crowned

Courtesy photograph The new Edwards Community Queens were crowned March 21 during the 2015 pageant held at the Oasis Community Center. They are (back row from left) Miss (Danika Blake), Teen Miss (Ariana Medina), Junior Miss (H...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>