A scale model of a future concept supersonic aircraft built by The Boeing Company, in the sidewall of the 8 by 6-foot supersonic wind tunnel at NASA’s Glenn Research Center. Image © NASA/Quentin Schwinn
In recent tests, researchers evaluated the performance of air inlets mounted on top of the model to see how changing the amount of airflow at supersonic speeds through the inlet affected performance. The inlet on the pilot’s right side (top inlet in this side view) is larger because it contains a remote-controlled device through which the flow of air could be changed.
The work is part of ongoing research in NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate to address the challenges of making future supersonic flight over land possible. Researchers are testing overall vehicle design and performance options to reduce emissions and noise, and identifying whether the volume of sonic booms can be reduced to a level that leads to a reversal of the current ruling that prohibits commercial supersonic flight over land.