This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Supersonic Flight Essay

2382 words - 10 pages

In 1943, Theodor Von Karman, in response to a request by US Air Force headquarters, claimed that the realization of a supersonic aircraft would have been doable using the right technology and tools. The fear of breaking the "sound barrier" was finally removed in 1947, when the Captain Yaeger flew the Bell X-1 at a speed slightly above Mach 1 for few seconds, producing the famous and long-awaited sonic boom (caused by an impulsive pressure change created by the sonic waves detaching from the aircraft), music for the scientists attending that historical moment, but current nightmare for the 21st Century supersonic vehicles' designers [8].
Since the first wind tunnel investigations on high speed flow over a stationary airfoil (1918), it was clear that when the free stream velocity approached a certain value, a major increase in drag coefficient occurred at exactly what later was characterized as the drag-divergence Mach number. Thanks to the introduction of Shclieren optical system, in 1933, it was possible to state that this aerodynamic phenomenon was mainly due to the presence of regions of supersonic flow over the airfoil consequently terminating in a shock wave, which is the cause of the drag-increasing flow separation downstream the shock [1].
The presence of the wave drag represented the main technical obstacle for the design of supersonic aircraft and, to the same extent, for the improvement of their cruise efficiency. Indeed, the need of source of thrust powerful enough to overcome the increased drag force, embodies a major second technical challenge.
From the 1947 four rocket engines solution of the X-1, to the 1960's state of the art B-58's GE J79 jet engines, the power issue was addressed with increasing sophistication. It focused only on the pure performances, neglecting the big problem of emission control that would eventually contribute to the failure of the most recent supersonic transport programs (SST).
The B-58 itself showed to the world that the possibility of a civilian SST was at least worthy of accurate investigation and capital investments. Although the large bomber implemented the supersonic efficient area-ruling design first introduced by Whitcomb (mid 1950s [1]) and therefore it could deliver a nuclear payload cruising at Mach 2 for about two hours, the light and thin wings, designed for high altitude flight and inefficient close to the ground at subsonic speed, highlighted a new set of primary technical challenges to be addressed by a commercial SST: the realization satisfactory structural design, the optimization of the wing aerodynamics for subsonic flow, and related to the last point, the improvement of takeoff and landing performance. A deadly crash at 1961 Paris air show summed up all the concerns about safety issues related to a not optimal overall design [4].
Three civilian SST programs started in the 1960s: the successful Anglo-French Concorde, the somewhat failed Russian TU-144 and the short ten year long...

Find Another Essay On Supersonic Flight

A Brief Biography of Ludwig Prandtl

1333 words - 5 pages tests to study the effects of shock waves due to supersonic flow (Anderson 46). Looking at this research in a historical sense is purely remarkable: the Wright Brothers had only achieved manned flight in 1903 and supersonic flight was over 40 years in the future. Prandtl’s work helped pioneer areas of flight and applied science by supplying theory and principles to problems that the aerodynamic world had yet to encounter. In 1929, Prandtl

A Distant Rumble of Thunder: The Story of the Bell X-1

737 words - 3 pages try for the sound barrier the tenth flight, but the Mach gauge reaches .965 Mach and then suddenly goes over. He gets a call from those assisting on the ground, for they “heard what sounded like a distant rumble: my sonic boom!” (Yeager 350). Mankind has finally reached the supersonic threshold and surpassed it. The rest, to use the terrible cliché, is history. Yeager himself breaks his own records, going Mach 2.4 in 1953 (Wolfe 49). The

Future of Passenger Aircraft

2501 words - 10 pages everyone who purchases air travel should be excited to see how industry unfolds. Let's kick this off! For me, this topic hits home and in my pocket. My uncle, retired Coast Guard Captain Brian Murray, fly's for Emirates Airlines out of Dubai. Growing up with aviation in our family, I've seen and heard the best stories of flight, but it seems the best are yet to come. Every new dawn breeds a new idea of some component of flight

This Essay is about errors in the user interface and how is can cause disasterous effects

572 words - 2 pages investigation says, followed the outbreak of a "substantial" fire under the left wing and problems with both engines one andtwo. Concorde has been grounded since the crash, but in mid-July 2001 it completed a successful supersonic test flight. The plane's tyres have been reinforced and its fuel tankscovered with a protective liner to prevent a repeat of last year's accident. All this information was gotten off the BBCNews website. Another reason

The Concorde project

5272 words - 21 pages their own research and development departments that were working on creating the fastest plane in the world. This was a political game, USA and Russia have focused on space flight programmes such as sending first man to the moon and supersonic transport (SST) was not the priority. The biggest effort to start the project made England, although in time they realised that this mission is to large for them on they own (Clarke, 1976).Britain was falling

Aerodynamics of Planes

2392 words - 10 pages . Each pebble hits outside of the wave made by the previous pebble. Just as we drop the fourth pebble, the waves pile up at the forefront of our motion and tend to reinforce each other (Smith 191-192).” These shock waves build up on the nose of the aircraft creating a disturbance over the wings. The Concord has a bendable nose so at supersonic flight it can reduce the disturbance over the wing to allow a more steady and smooth flight. Another


2291 words - 9 pages of our motion and tend to reinforce each other (Smith 191-192).? These shock waves build up on the nose of the aircraft creating a disturbance over the wings. The Concord has a bendable nose so at supersonic flight it can reduce the disturbance over the wing to allow a more steady and smooth flight. Another way to decrease the disturbance over the wings are to move the wings lower than the horizontal stabilizer or visa versa to allow the shock

The Legend Chuck Yeager

2205 words - 9 pages ribs. They decided to put him in a local hospital, instead of the military hospital, because they would have not let him go for his supersonic flight that was scheduled on that Tuesday. Although he broke his two ribs, he still wanted to complete his supersonic flight. On Tuesday morning, Oct. 14 1947, his team was aware of his injury and they asked him if he is really ready for this mission. Charles responded: “Hell yes, lets get it over with

Working in the Clouds, airplanes

809 words - 3 pages Working in the CloudsAlthough becoming a pilot may take hard work and dedication, it also offers great beauty and the satisfaction of accomplishing an important goal. Nearly one hundred years ago the idea of human flight was thought absurd. Flying was something one only did while he was dreaming; but presently one can fly to his destination in the utmost comfort and safety, thanks to the airplane.The first flight took place on December 17, 1903


5693 words - 23 pages achieving high lift for supersonic flight, they also have a number of disadvantages for less high performing aircraft. They require high landing takeoff speeds, long takeoff and landing run are unstable at high angle of attack, and produce tremendous drag when "trimmed" to keep the plane level. Of these disadvantages pilots and designers usually consider the high landing and takeoff speeds the most important they make flying the plane dangerous. By the

History of Aircraft

2224 words - 9 pages was on utility and supersonic speed rather than sport flying and distance events since the maximum outcomes of these had been practically reached. By October 14, 1947 Mach 1 had been surpassed by the Bell Aircraft Corporation by their rocket plane, Bell X-1, piloted by Captain Charles Yeager. The aircraft reached an altitude of more than 40,000 feet and a speed of Mach 1.06. The X-1 provided a significant design, flight stability data, and

Similar Essays

Supersonic Dream: Problems Of Supersonic Transport And The Concord

2062 words - 8 pages What is the different between supersonic flight and subsonic flight? The term “supersonic” and “subsonic” are used to describe the travel speed in Mach unit in which “supersonic” is used for the speed between Mach 1 and 5 while “subsonic” is for the speed below Mach 1(Smith, 2009, para.2)When a plane is flying at supersonic speed, it is flying faster than sound. The major difference in a supersonic aircraft is the design principal. The most

Super Sonic Business Jet Assumptions Essay

1407 words - 6 pages date, Aerion has received fifty letters of intent, accompanied by a $250,000 deposit (Doyle, 2014). Limitations The limitations faced by potential supersonic transport aircraft are legion. The first hurdle to cross is the legal prohibition against civil supersonic flight that does not meet stage 2 noise limits (FAA, 2014). Aerion claims their design will meet the existing regulations for U.S. and international flight (FAA/UC, 2009). The legal

Concorde Project Essay

3343 words - 13 pages Table of ContentsIntroduction 3Stakeholders Analysis 5Reasons behind the slippage of forecast 8Reasons for Budget escalation 9Good Project Management Methodology 10Concepts of Failure and Success 13Concorde Success or Failure??? 15References 16 INTRODUCTIONTHE SUPERSONIC CONCORDEIn Nov. 1956, a Supersonic Transport Aircraft Committee (STAC) was established comprising of representatives of engine manufacturers, Britain's aircraft, Royal

The Discovery Of High Speed Manned Flight And Mach

1181 words - 5 pages “compressibility”, and is a key factor in high speed flight. The pilot of an aircraft such as a Cessna with a top speed of 302 kph can ignore compressibility altogether, however faster aircraft must be able to factor this in. Ernst Mach and Christian Doppler, are among the main contributors regarding research and theoretical work towards the current understanding of supersonic flight. In 1842 Christian Doppler proposed the widely known “Doppler