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Saturday, April 24, 2004

Supersonic Planes Go Silent
There is no longer a single commercial supersonic airplane since the retirement of the Concorde last year. And even during its years of glory, the Concorde was not a commercial success, mainly because it was not allowed to cruise at supersonic speed over land. Why? Because of the sonic 'boom' which arises when you break the sound barrier. Now, a joint program between NASA, the military and the aerospace industry wants to remove, or at least reduce, this sonic boom, by changing the shape of supersonic planes.

It seems to work. After a 'nose job' on a Northrop Grumman F-5E, about a third of the pressure released when breaking the sound barrier has already been suppressed. This overview contains more details. It also includes a photograph of the modified Northrop Grumman F-5Ea aircraft flying off the wing of the F-15B research testbed aircraft, along with an unidentified third plane.
:: posted by Roland Piquepaille, 3:32 PM

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