by Staff Writers
Cambridge, Mass. (UPI) Mar 16, 2012
Supersonic travel could make a comeback, U.S. researchers say, with a technology from an earlier era in aviation -- the biplane.
The supersonic Concorde sped passengers between New York and Paris for 27 years in a journey taking just 3 1/2 hours, but expensive tickets, high fuel costs, limited seating and noise disruption from the jet's sonic boom finally ended the service in 2003.
A researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says commercial supersonic travel could come back, this time on two wings instead of one.
Qiqi Wang, an assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics, says computer models suggest a modified biplane can produce significantly less drag than a conventional single-wing aircraft at supersonic cruise speeds, using less fuel and creating less of a sonic boom.
"The sonic boom is really the shock waves created by the supersonic airplanes, propagated to the ground," Wang says. "It's like hearing gunfire. It's so annoying that supersonic jets were not allowed to fly over land."
In Wang's design, the two wings -- one positioned above the other -- would cancel out the shock waves produced from either wing alone.
In the computer models the conceptual plane was able to fly at supersonic speeds with half the drag of conventional supersonic jets such as the Concorde, which Wang says could cut the amount of fuel required to fly the plane by more than half.
"If you think about it, when you take off, not only do you have to carry the passengers, but also the fuel, and if you can reduce the fuel burn, you can reduce how much fuel you need to carry, which in turn reduces the size of the structure you need to carry the fuel," Wang says. "It's kind of a chain reaction."
Aerospace News at SpaceMart.com
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Airbus fears China blocking more A330 sales: source
Paris (AFP) March 14, 2012
Airbus fears that China is blocking an order for 10 more purchases of its A330 long-haul planes in reaction to a disputed European carbon tax, a source close to the company said on Wednesday. Airbus parent company EADS said earlier this month that China was refusing to approve airline orders for the sale of 45 of its planes, including 35 A330s and 10 A380 superjumbos, because of the tax on a ... read more
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