Aerion has started its next round of high-speed test flights, in conjunction with NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, to validate the laminar-flow wing for its supersonic business jet. These tests, using a test article mounted under the centerline of NASA’s F-15B research aircraft and flown at speeds up to Mach 2.0, are intended to measure the real-world robustness of supersonic natural laminar flow. Information from these tests will help define manufacturing standards for surface quality and assembly tolerances of the proposed SSBJ’s laminar-flow wing.
The past couple of years have not been the best of times for a would-be developer to sign deals with industrial partners and customer-users for a new supersonic business jet (SSBJ), but Aerion has been hanging in there and is now seeking to make subsonic aircraft aerodynamically slicker.
Dassault Aviation conducted a "successful" flight test to evaluate laminar wings for large business jets. The flight was performed at the companyπs flight-test center in Istres, France, using a Falcon 7X equipped with an infrared camera to measure differences in surface temperatures between laminar and turbulent areas of the horizontal tailplane.
Reno, Nev.-based Aerion is evaluating preliminary results of a new global market survey indicating strong demand for its proposed supersonic business jet. Preliminary data of the latest study confirms Aerion’s earlier research, which projected a 10-year market for about 300 supersonic jets. Meanwhile, Aerion plans to conduct a new series of flight tests on its natural laminar flow (NLF) wing design at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center.
A major research program launched three years ago by the European Union has identified open rotors and natural laminar flow as key technologies to be taken forward in the Clean Sky joint technology initiative and potentially into the mooted replacement for the Airbus A320.
Supersonic business jet hopeful Aerion is still building a consortium to develop its airplane. In March the board of the Reno, Nevada-based company approved continued funding of the project through to program launch.