Would-be manufacturers of supersonic business jets–Aerion, Gulfstream and Supersonic Aerospace International–are encouraged by an updated FAA policy statement that aligns noise limits for future civil supersonic aircraft with current Stage 4 noise regulations. According to the FAA, this action is intended to provide guidance on noise limits for supersonic jets.
Aerion, the U.S. company that is developing a supersonic business jet (SSBJ), has welcomed an FAA policy shift which it believes “seems to crack open the door for supersonic cruise speeds” if, in the words of FAA policy guidance released last month, “the noise impacts of supersonic flight are shown to be acceptable.”
Hopeful manufacturers of supersonic business jets–Aerion, Gulfstream and Supersonic Aerospace International–are encouraged by an updated FAA policy statement issued last week to align noise limits for future civil supersonic aircraft with current Stage 4 noise regulations.
“Everybody talks about the weather,” Mark Twain once famously quipped, “but nobody ever does anything about it.”
Gulfstream has recruited company veteran Robert Cowart to be the new director of supersonic technology development. He most recently served as project engineer for the supersonic technology program. In his new position, Cowart is responsible for the development of advanced technology supporting quiet supersonic flight over land, with a principal focus on sonic boom suppression concepts.
It is almost five years since the Concorde retired, but little has been achieved in terms of replacing the world’s most iconic commercial aircraft.
A passive sound-reduction kit for the Pilatus PC-12 lowers cabin noise by 55 percent in the speech interference level and by 80 percent in the average “A” weighted scale, according to Western Aircraft, the Boise, Idaho company offering the kit. The kit uses a variety of soundproofing materials installed throughout the cabin of the turboprop single, adding between about 90- and 120 lb to the aircraft’s empty weight. The kit costs $21,602.
Economical, practical, environmentally friendly supersonic flight is the next big thing in commercial aviation. Or is it? From where aeronautical technology stands today, practical supersonic flight (and by “practical,” we do not mean the Anglo-French Concorde, which generates noise and atmospheric pollution levels that preclude all but the smallest volumes of operation) is far off.
Broadband cabin noise, which can greatly fatigue passengers in even the most finely appointed business aircraft, could be a thing of the past if a new system from Britain’s Ultra Electronics and Qinetiq makes it to market. Early next year the partners are expecting to flight test new-generation hybrid active/passive mounts positioned between the fuselage and cabin trim panels.
The prospect of designing a supersonic business jet that meets market requirements and environmental noise constraints at a price that will attract buyers remains compelling, and research continues. The Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign recently signed an agreement to research SSBJ sonic boom mitigation with Rolls-Royce Deutschland and Gulfstream Aerospace.