The much-ballyhooed SST (supersonic transport
, better known as the Concorde) turned transatlantic flight into a thrilling, three hour adrenalin rush--for those willing and able to spend more than $10,000 to fly a route that, for a few hours more and in considerably greater comfort and less noise, cost a few hundred dollars.
To sell more planes, aircraft makers want a supersonic transport to fly as many routes as possible, over land and sea.
Other studies likely to affect the development of supersonic transport involve ongoing assessments of the potential impact on marine life and wild birds of a projected 500 or more daily ocean crossings by supersonic airliners.
Ultimately, the fate of commercial supersonic transport may hinge on which routes the planes will be allowed to fly.
The NASA-funded study looked at the potential introduction of five classes of advanced aircraft -- 737-sized cruise-efficient short-takeoff-and-landing (CESTOL) airliners, 100-passenger tiltrotors, unmanned aircraft, very light jets (VLJ) and supersonic transports
-- and found that the CESTOL and tiltrotor aircraft would be beneficiaries of NextGen.
OI see the sonic boom problem as the biggest obstacle to supersonic transports
because it cannot completely be eliminated, again due to basic physics.
The four new classes of aircraft -- very light jets, super heavy transports, aircraft systems without crews and supersonic transports
-- will soon enter an already overburdened air transportation system.
OThe patent addresses only one of the three major issues with supersonic transport
aircraft, the first one being noise on takeoff,O Mark Drela, a professor at the Dept.