NASA Funds Sub- And Supersonic Combined In One Concept Aircraft
The supersonic and subsonic aircraft designs are actually conflicting with one another, as for supersonic flights one requires wings with sweep and low aspect ratio (small and swept back wings), while for subsonic landing and take-off wings are to be the opposite (wide and broad). Previously we wrote about the attempts to make the aircrafts with variable sweep wings meant to reach the compromise. This time NASA is investing $100,000 into something completely different, as the aircraft seems to have both super- and subsonic wings sets simultaneously. This concept for a “supersonic bi-directional flying wing” (or SBiDir-FW) rotates the entire aircraft by 90 degrees till its nose and tail have become its wings to shift from subsonic flight to supersonic flight, while the engine pod stays pointing in the direction of flight. The rotation of the frame without any powered system with pure aerodynamics is achieved by folding the winglets down or up to shift to and from the supersonic configuration. The University of Miami team is to spend the funding to take the SBiDir-FW into the tunnel testing stage. If everything turns out well they can expect another $500,000 from NASA. As potentially this concept may result into an aircraft having: maximum speed of between Mach 1.6 and Mach 2.0 (1,200 – 1,500 MPH) allowing a direct flight from New York to Los Angeles in under two hours; highly efficient supersonic configuration with extremely low drag and no sonic boom, making happen flights over land; subsonic configuration for taking off in under 2,500 feet; and all these with seating for up to 70 passengers.