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.
Cabin entertainment provider Rosen Aviation and cabin completion and refurbishment specialist Elliott Aviation have joined forces to create a noise-canceling solution combined with an in-flight entertainment system for the King Air 200, 300 and 350. Elliott’s sound management system incorporates UltraQuiet active noise control.
Noise is everywhere–annoying, tiring and sometimes painful. Since the early days of aviation, when a roaring, clattering engine sat on a wooden frame close to the pilot, and the wind whistled through the wire bracing like a banshee chorus, engineers have sought to make the process of manned flight less noisy. And they have succeeded, to a degree.
Aerion now has commitments covering at least 20 of its proposed supersonic business jet (SSBJ) since it started signing letters of intent with prospective customers in November. The letters of intent come from 20 different clients in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North America; operators committing to the program most recently include Pakistan-based executive charter firm Princely Jets and an undisclosed customer from India.
U.S. and European Union officials are making last-ditch efforts to negotiate a settlement to their long-running dispute over hush kits bringing Stage 2 aircraft into compliance with current Stage 3 noise limits. Both sides want the deeply divisive matter resolved at the September 25 meeting in Montreal of the International Civil Aviation Organization assembly.