The “Supersonic bi-directional flying wing” (SBiDir-FW) in order to transition from subsonic flight to supersonic, instead of sweeping its wings back, rotates the entire aircraft by 90 degrees!
The SBiDir-FW concept now has $100,000 from NASA and will get another $500,000 if development work looks promising.
“We propose a Phase I study for a novel concept of a supersonic bi-directional (SBiDir) flying wing (FW) that has the potential to revolutionize supersonic flight with virtually zero sonic boom and ultra-high aerodynamic efficiency,” explains Gecheng Zha from the University of Miami.
Images credit: Gecheng Zha
“The SBiDir-FW planform is symmetric about both the longitudinal and span axes. For supersonic flight, the planform can have as low aspect ratio and as high sweep angle as desired to minimize wave drag and sonic boom. For subsonic mode, the airplane will rotate 90deg in flight to achieve superior stable aerodynamic performance. The conflict of subsonic and supersonic aerodynamic performance of conventional fuselage-wing configuration is hence removed. The preliminary CFD simulation for a SBiDir-FW business jet (BJ) at Mach numbers of 1.6 and 2.0 indicates that the configuration generates no N-wave sonic boom on the ground at a high lift to pressure drag ratio L/Dp of 16.”
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