Flight Over Land – Lowering the Boom
* Archived webinar can be viewed here.
Would you like to someday fly across the United States in half the time? Or work at companies that are designing and building new commercial supersonic aircraft? Before any of that can happen, we have to lower the boom – the sonic boom, that is, which today is what prohibits commercial aircraft from flying at supersonic speed over land. NASA’s aeronautical innovators are building the X-59 Quiet Supersonic Technology (QueSST) aircraft, which generates a “sonic thump,” and will be flying it over U.S. communities to collect data from people on the ground. Can we lower the boom enough to open up a new market? Learn more here.
One of the fastest changes in air transportation can be summed up into one word – “drones.” These unmanned aerial vehicles – large and small – are increasingly a next-gen option for many missions, from package delivery to disaster reconnaissance to utility line inspection to passenger transportation. What do we need to make sure these new entrants fly safely? How do multiple drones in the same area navigate around each other and around people and buildings and mountains and even other aircraft? How do drones adapt their flight patterns to changing weather conditions, especially wind? Where’s the system that can manage all of this? NASA’s aeronautical innovators have been testing a system that can safely integrate drones into less-populated to densely-populated urban areas. Learn more here.
It’s like a hybrid car, but then it’s not. When thinking of aircraft that would use electricity for some or all of its propulsion, it’s okay to think of the hybrid concept where both conventional fuel and electricity are used during specific times of the trip. But that’s where it ends. Because aircraft have to get off the ground, carrying themselves and cargo and passengers. Weight and the propulsive force needed to lift off the ground makes designing electric-supported systems for aircraft a bigger challenge. But the benefits are enticing – near zero emissions and in most case a lot less noise. NASA’s aeronautical innovators are several approaches to electrified aircraft, from the X-57 all-electric general aviation-sized aircraft, to hybrid options for larger single-aisle commercial transports. What we’ve learned so far about batteries, aircraft design, electrical systems for aircraft, pilot training for electrical systems and more is already being shared with parts of the aviation community interested in electrified flight. Learn more here.