Log in to use our free company, program and sector update tracker feature.

September 2007 edition

Supersonic business jet designers need to overcome additional challenges

By Jason Matisheck

The design of a supersonic business jet (SBJ) presents several significant challenges over subsonic aircraft design. The optimal configurations for subsonic vs. supersonic flight differ significantly in such basic areas as fineness ratio, aspect ratio, wing thickness and wing sweep. Supersonic aircraft also suffer a significant reduc-tion in lift-to-drag ratio due to the presence of wave drag. In addition, the ideal engine cycle for supersonic cruise is inefficient and noisy at takeoff conditions. Supersonic aircraft also suffer from the environmental and political problem of sonic boom.

Traditional approaches to supersonic design use area rule and significant wing sweep to reduce wave drag. Cranked forward outer wing panels and/or high lift devices are then used to provide acceptable takeoff and low speed performance. This performance, while adequate, is far short of the performance of a similar weight subsonic aircraft. Turbojet or low bypass turbofan engines are used for good supersonic cruise at the expense of high takeoff noise and lower subsonic efficiency. In some cases, variable geometry is used at the expense of structural weight and maintenance complexity. Until recently, sonic boom was simply a given. New techniques for aircraft shaping to reduce sonic boom show promise, but such shaping necessarily increases the cruise drag and results in a heavier aircraft.


Full report (3743 words) is available by subscription:  

Tell a friend/colleague about this story:



 Contact details from our directory:
Pratt & Whitney Large Commercial Engines Turbofan Engines
Aerion Corporation Airframer

Subscribers are able to access the full text of articles on this web site, and in a downloadable PDF newsletter. If you have a subscription already then please log in, otherwise see our latest subscription offers.

Enhanced listings:

Korea Jig and Fixture (KJF)
Leading tooling manufacturer in Korea, having competencies in large assembly jigs and moving lines.

Ascent Aerospace
Ascent Aerospace is the leading provider of aerospace tooling systems, assembly automation and factory integration.

Dymax Corporation
A leading manufacturer of advanced light-curable adhesives, maskants, coatings, oligomers, light-curing equipment, and fluid dispense systems.

ESPEC North America Inc. | Qualmark
Qualmark is your industry leading manufacturer and partner for accelerated reliability testing, HALT and HASS, for all commercial and defense avionics.

The world's leading provider of thermal processing services to aerospace primes and their supply chains.

See our advertising tariff.


data pages remaining in monthly quota for non-subscribers

© Airframer Limited, operated under licence by Stansted News Limited 2018. Terms & Conditions of reading. Privacy policy