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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2001. Commercial Supersonic Technology: The Way Ahead. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10283.
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Commercial SUPERSONIC Technology

The Way Ahead

Committee on Breakthrough Technology for Commercial Supersonic Aircraft

Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board

Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2001. Commercial Supersonic Technology: The Way Ahead. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10283.
×

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

This project was supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under contract No. NASW 99037. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

International Standard Book Number: 0-309-08277-3

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Copyright 2001 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

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Cover: Bird illustrations designed by Antony Jameson, Stanford University.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2001. Commercial Supersonic Technology: The Way Ahead. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10283.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

National Academy of Sciences

National Academy of Engineering

Institute of Medicine

National Research Council

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2001. Commercial Supersonic Technology: The Way Ahead. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10283.
×

COMMITTEE ON BREAKTHROUGH TECHNOLOGY FOR COMMERCIAL SUPERSONIC AIRCRAFT

DIANNE S. WILEY, Chair,

The Boeing Company, Huntington Beach, California

H. LEE BEACH, JR.,

Christopher Newport University, Newport News, Virginia

JAMES A. (MICKY) BLACKWELL,

Lockheed Martin (retired), Marietta, Georgia

EUGENE E. COVERT,

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge

DONALD M. DIX,

Department of Defense (retired), McLean, Virginia

WILLARD DODDS,

GE Aircraft Engines, Cincinnati, Ohio

ILAN KROO,

Stanford University, Stanford, California

DOMENIC J. MAGLIERI,

Eagle Aeronautics, Inc., Hampton, Virginia

MATTHEW MILLER,

The Boeing Company, Seattle, Washington

DORA E. MUSIELAK,

University of Texas, Arlington

DAVID K. SCHMIDT,

University of Colorado, Colorado Springs

MICHAEL WINSLOW,

Honeywell, Dayton, Ohio

BILL G.W. YEE,

Pratt & Whitney (retired), West Palm Beach, Florida

Liaison from the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board

ROBERT C. GOETZ,

Lockheed Martin Skunk Works (retired), Santa Clara, California

Staff

PRABHAKAR MISRA, Study Coordinator

ALAN ANGLEMAN, Senior Program Officer

MARY LOU AQUILO, Senior Project Assistant

BRIDGET EDMONDS, Senior Project Assistant

GEORGE LEVIN, Director,

Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board

MARVIN WEEKS, Senior Administrative Assistant

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2001. Commercial Supersonic Technology: The Way Ahead. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10283.
×

AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ENGINEERING BOARD

WILLIAM W. HOOVER, Chair,

U.S. Air Force (retired), Williamsburg, Virginia

A. DWIGHT ABBOTT,

Aerospace Corporation (retired), Los Angeles, California

RUZENA K. BAJSCY,

NAE, IOM, University of California, Berkeley

WILLIAM F. BALLHAUS, JR.,

NAE, Aerospace Corporation, Los Angeles, California

JAMES BLACKWELL,

Lockheed Martin Corporation (retired), Marietta, Georgia

ANTHONY J. BRODERICK,

aviation safety consultant, Catlett, Virginia

DONALD L. CROMER,

U.S. Air Force (retired), Lompoc, California

ROBERT A. DAVIS,

The Boeing Company (retired), Blaine, Washington

JOSEPH FULLER, JR.,

Futron Corporation, Bethesda, Maryland

RICHARD GOLASZEWSKI,

GRA Inc., Jenkintown, Pennsylvania

JAMES M. GUYETTE,

Rolls-Royce North America, Reston, Virginia

FREDERICK HAUCK,

AXA Space, Bethesda, Maryland

JOHN L. JUNKINS,

NAE, Texas A&M University, College Station

JOHN K. LAUBER,

Airbus Industrie of North America, Washington, D.C.

GEORGE MUELLNER,

The Boeing Company, Seal Beach, California

DAVA J. NEWMAN,

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts

JAMES G. O’CONNOR,

NAE, Pratt & Whitney (retired), Coventry, Connecticut

MALCOLM R. O’NEILL,

Lockheed Martin Corporation, Bethesda, Maryland

CYNTHIA SAMUELSON,

Logistics Management Institute, Springfield, Virginia

WINSTON E. SCOTT,

Florida State University, Tallahassee

KATHRYN C. THORNTON,

University of Virginia, Charlottesville

ROBERT E. WHITEHEAD,

NASA (retired), Henrico, North Carolina

DIANNE S. WILEY,

The Boeing Company, Huntington Beach, California

THOMAS L. WILLIAMS,

Northrop Grumman, El Segundo, California

Staff

GEORGE LEVIN, Director

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2001. Commercial Supersonic Technology: The Way Ahead. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10283.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2001. Commercial Supersonic Technology: The Way Ahead. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10283.
×

Preface

Affordable, reliable, and safe air transportation is important to quality of life and economic growth. Civil aviation has become an essential mode of transportation nationally and globally. If the United States intends to maintain supremacy in the commercial aerospace sector, it has to take a long-term perspective and channel adequate resources into research and technology development. In fact, this task is one of the legislatively established objectives of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), but it will not be achieved without a vigorous aeronautics program that is relevant to the development of advanced commercial aircraft, including supersonic aircraft.

NASA’s Aerospace Technology Enterprise has established 10 technology goals, one of which is to cut in half the time it takes to travel from the United States to the Far East and Europe. Achieving this objective will require new technology to improve the performance and affordability of supersonic aircraft while meeting public expectations related to safety, noise, and engine emissions. Advanced research and technology are also needed to establish the feasibility of reducing sonic boom sufficiently to allow sustained supersonic commercial flight over land—a capability that would greatly enhance the utility and economic viability of supersonic aircraft.

The National Research Council (NRC) was commissioned by NASA to conduct an 18-month study to identify breakthrough technologies for overcoming key barriers to the development of an environmentally acceptable and economically viable commercial supersonic aircraft. The NRC subsequently established the Committee on Breakthrough Technology for Commercial Supersonic Aircraft. The study committee met four times between October 2000 and March 2001 and also had other ancillary visits and teleconferences to collect relevant information, identify and assess alternative technologies, and generate a list of appropriate findings, conclusions, and recommendations. As detailed herein, the committee concluded that an economically viable supersonic aircraft will require new focused efforts in several areas, as well as continued development of technology on a broad front. Furthermore, NASA must advance key technologies to a technology readiness level (TRL) high enough (i.e., a TRL of 6, as defined by NASA) to facilitate the handoff of research results to the aerospace industry for commercial development. The committee concluded that maturation of key technologies could enable operational deployment of an environmentally acceptable, economically viable commercial supersonic aircraft with a cruise speed of less than approximately Mach 2 in 25 years or less—perhaps a lot less, with an aggressive technology development program focused on smaller supersonic aircraft, because goals in many critical areas would be easier to achieve with smaller aircraft. However, it may take longer to overcome the more difficult technological and environmental challenges associated with building a large commercial supersonic aircraft with a cruise speed in excess of approximately Mach 2.

This study benefited from a high level of public interest. Many individuals from interested organizations attended the committee’s information-gathering meetings, which included opportunities for public input. This broad participation made an important contribution to the committee’s deliberations, and the committee is indebted to everyone who gave of their time and talent at the meetings.

This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the delibera-

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2001. Commercial Supersonic Technology: The Way Ahead. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10283.
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tive process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report:

Linden Blue, General Atomics,

Michael Hudson, Rolls-Royce North America,

Antony Jameson, Stanford University,

Ira Kuhn, Directed Technologies, Inc.,

Kenneth Plotkin, Wyle Laboratories, and

William Sirignano, University of California, Irvine

Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Raymond S. Colladay, RC Space Enterprises, Inc. Appointed by the National Research Council, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

Dianne S. Wiley, Chair

Committee on Breakthrough Technology for Commercial Supersonic Aircraft

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2001. Commercial Supersonic Technology: The Way Ahead. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10283.
×
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2001. Commercial Supersonic Technology: The Way Ahead. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10283.
×

Tables, Figures, and Box

TABLES

ES-1

 

Key Challenges to Developing a Commercial Supersonic Aircraft and Related Research Areas,

 

3

1-1

 

Total NASA Funding for the HSR Program from Program Inception in FY 1990 Through Planned Completion in FY 2002,

 

8

2-1

 

Customer Requirements, Vehicle Characteristics, and Technology Goals for Economic and Environmental Performance of Notional Aircraft,

 

12

2-2

 

Environmental Regulations Relevant to Commercial Supersonic Aircraft,

 

13

5-1

 

Commercial Supersonic Aircraft: Three Notional Vehicles,

 

41

FIGURES

1-1

 

NASA technology readiness levels,

 

7

2-1

 

Weight distributions of selected aircraft,

 

13

3-1

 

Typical variation in L/D with Mach number,

 

19

4-1

 

Schematic of the atmosphere between the ground and an altitude of 100,000 ft,

 

28

4-2

 

Sensitivity of predicted ozone change to a shift in cruise altitude,

 

29

4-3

 

Esimate of globally and annually averaged radiative forcing for a worldwide commercial fleet in 2050 that includes subsonic and supersonic aircraft,

 

30

4-4

 

Comparison of estimated radiative forcing from the global fleet of commercial aircraft for (1) 1992, (2) 2050 with no commercial supersonic aircraft, and (3) 2050 with a fleet of large commercial supersonic aircraft,

 

31

BOX

3-1

 

Demonstration of Aircraft-Pilot Coupling Instability in a Ground-Based Simulation,

 

23

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2001. Commercial Supersonic Technology: The Way Ahead. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10283.
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WORKING TOGETHER

We shape our self to fit this world

and by the world are shaped again.

The visible and the invisible

working together in common cause,

to produce the miraculous.

I am thinking of the way the intangible air

passed at speed round a shaped wing

easily holds our weight.

So may we, in this life trust

to those elements we have yet to see

or imagine, and look for the true

shape of our own self by forming it well

to the great intangibles about us.

—David Whyte

Written for the presentation of the Collier Trophy to the Boeing Company, 1996. Copyright © 1996, 1998 by David Whyte. From The House of Belonging, by David Whyte. Reprinted by permission of the author and Many Rivers Press, Langley, Washington.

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High-speed flight is a major technological challenge for both commercial and business aviation. As a first step in revitalizing efforts by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to achieve the technology objective of high-speed air travel, NASA requested the National Research Council (NRC) to conduct a study that would identify approaches for achieving breakthroughs in research and technology for commercial supersonic aircraft. Commercial Supersonic Technology documents the results of that effort. This report describes technical areas where ongoing work should be continued and new focused research initiated to enable operational deployment of an environmentally acceptable, economically viable commercial aircraft capable of sustained supersonic flight, including flight over land, at speeds up to approximately Mach 2 in the next 25 years or less.

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