back to article Concorde without the cacophony: NASA thinks it's cracked quiet supersonic flight

NASA says the preliminary design review of its Quiet Supersonic Transport (QueSST) project suggests it is possible to create a supersonic aircraft that doesn't produce a sonic boom. We've been able to build supersonic passenger planes for decades, but they're tricky things. Russia's Tupolev Tu-144 proved highly unreliable. …

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Joke

Should be called the F.R.E.N.C.H

Friggin

Really

Elongated

Nose

Cone,

Holy-crap!

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Anonymous Coward

For flying over US cities they probably don't need to do anything to reduce the sonic boom - they can just tell everyone that this is "an Amercia sonic boom" and thus is inherently superior to any UK/French sonic boom of the past .... like the way I remember an electricty company spokesperson explaining away a power outage in late 90s which had talen out the entire west coast (Canada down to Mexico and across to Texas) by assuring everyone that despite this minor incovenience Americans could be assured taht they still had the "finest electricity in the world"

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The landing space shuttle used to make a sonic boom over central Florida on its way back to KSC, I've enjoyed that a few times!

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KSC

I can't help reading that as Kerbal instead of Kennedy...

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Exactly what they did...

...with military aircraft low-flying and sonic booms; they produced the slogan "Jet noise is the sound of freedom" and promoted the idea that if you complained about it you were being unpatriotic and were clearly a Red...

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Perhaps we should pre-emptively ban it over here in revenge for the US's hissy fit over Concorde in the 1970s? America only got concerned about sonic booms when their own pig-ugly SST proved too lardy to get off the ground.

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Perhaps we should pre-emptively ban it over here in revenge for the US's hissy fit over Concorde in the 1970s?

The best form of revenge would surely be to encourage them to develop the technology, and re-learn the lesson that the market is tiny, and that they're overlooking ever tightening noise and emissions standards will make it near impossible to operate an SST in civilised markets.

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bjr

BS

The Boeing SST was canceled because of environmental reasons, specifically SSTs damage the ozone layer. It was also clear that they were going to be white elephants. The airlines didn't want them, they wanted the 747. France and Britain had to hold a gun to the heads of their flag carriers to get them to take the Concorde, eventually they just gave them the aircraft.

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Re: BS - Barnes Wallis

School trip to a lecture by Sir Barnes Wallis (bouncing bomb fame).

He said "I told the Americans not to use titanium!"

Even as school kids we understood why.

Living in North Swindon (Stratton St Margaret) we could hear the Concorde taking off from Fairford when the after-burners were activated.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: BS - Barnes Wallis

> Living in North Swindon (Stratton St Margaret)

You poor thing (living in luxurious West Swindon)

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Re: BS

"The Boeing SST was canceled because of environmental reasons, specifically SSTs damage the ozone layer."

You are right, that is total BS.

We didn't even know about damage to the ozone later at the time and... guess what? SSTs were not implicated in damage to the ozone layer at the time and the NOAA did not evaluate ozone depletion by SSTs until 1995. The NOAA concluded that ozone depletion by Concorde was "negligible" and that a fleet of over 500 SSTs would be needed to produce measureable depletion of the ozone layer *if nothing were done to clean up nitrogen dioxide emissions*.

Depletion of the ozone layer was due to the use of CFCs as an aerosol propellant and refrigerant.

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

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17:56 - every weekday

for years I would see the beautiful silhouette of one of the testaments to postwar European engineering, as I worked in Hounslow, under the flightpath.

Never failed to send a tingle down my spine (although that may have been the noise. You definitely heard it before you saw it).

Maybe I skim-read too quicky, but I missed the part where NASA engineers admitted that Concorde was a greater engineering challenge than the Apollo programme ?

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QueSST isn't Concorde..

Whilst QueSST is providing useful research, it does seem that it has a long way to go before it enters the same league as Concorde...

Remember Concorde carried up to 128 passengers, flew from existing airports (okay they did 'longer' runways) and was able to fly transatlantic (supersonic), refuel and fly back (supersonic). Plus we shouldn't forget that the Concorde that entered service was basically the prototype, the money effectively ran out before they were able to really think about building the production version...

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Re: QueSST isn't Concorde..

I remember wandering around inside a Concorde (at Hendon?) - interior certainly wasn't luxury. You wouldn't want to spend more than a few hours in it. For the prices of a ticket I'd expect more legroom, not just free champagne.

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Re: QueSST isn't Concorde..

A couple of hrs in short legroom is acceptable. The four hours getting from the car park to the plane is another matter. And the champagne - thought the idea was self important business people could hop over, do some work and be back in time for tea. Drinks dont come into that anymore.

Its a bit like HS2 - if you dont live at one of the railway stations and need to visit another one the 20 minute saving is facile.

I used to travel a lot for business but of the things I'd consider travelling long distance on business a day trip went off that list many years ago. If it really is important jet lag and the deleterious effects of air travel take too much of an edge of to make it worthwhile. If it really is an important meeting getting to it at 100% is a must.

A lot of people do like to feel important by flying all over the place and I've accompanied them a lot but most of the time ssh would have got the work done before we left the work car park.

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Re: QueSST isn't Concorde..

For the prices of a ticket I'd expect more legroom, not just free champagne.

My uncle used to regularly commute to the New York on the Concorde and my aunt described it as "not being very comfortable but at least it wasn't very comfortable for very long."

For return leg my uncle preferred a normal plane since there was not real benefit in saving time on the eastward leg. The flight out meant he could leave home in the morning as usual, go into his office in London handle anything sufficiently urgent and then fly to New York ready for a days meeting there.

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Trollface

You have just a general kind of a gradual pressure rise that produces a quiet sound.

It farts. Awesome!

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Re: You have just a general kind of a gradual pressure rise that produces a quiet sound.

"It farts. Awesome!"
Obviously you've never heard me fart then! Probably because you're in the northern hemisphere...

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Yep live not that far from filthy, noisy Heathrow .. but Concorde would take off and do a sharp right and went directly over my street, one end to the other, engines roaring like rockets.

The house would shake, the windows rattle and every time I'd rush to try and see it.

Properly awesome.

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I remember returning a hire car to one of the off-airport rental companies out where T4 is now. I was driving round the perimeter road just past the end of a runway when the world started to shake. I looked up through the sunroof - into the reheat cones of a Concorde as it went overhead. That gave me a buzz for the rest of the afternoon :)

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Anonymous Coward

"live not that far from filthy, noisy Heathrow"

To be fair, that's less to do with it being an airport and more to do with it being part of London ;-P

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Heavy use of area rule, which apart from reduced wave drag I am sure also results in milder shock wave.

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Had a student house at East Molesey (nr Hampton Court) in late 80s. One morning Concorde flew over much lower than normal directly overhead.

Couldn't hear yourself shout. Whole house shook. Car/house alarms going off everywhere. Total goose bump moment. Fantastic!!

Can see why some people wouldn't want this on a regular basis though....

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Erm

The Olympus engines that concord used were designed in the 1950's.

Compare the noise levels of something like an F 16/18 and an old bac lightning,there is a large difference,even when reheat is used,engines have got more efficient and quieter over the last 50+ years.

The two Olympus fitted to tsr2 could out bellow the 4 on a Concorde,even without reheat,you could hear tsr2 on static engine tests at boscombe down from a very long way away,made lightnings sound quiet in comparision,ahh they were the days...

Plane spotters dream time.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Erm

"The Olympus engines that concord used were designed in the 1950's."

Erm, actually the Olympus engines that the Avro Vulcan used were designed in the 1950s. The Olympus engines on Concorde were developed from the TSR2's 22R model - mostly in the 1960s and not finished until the 1970s. Even the TSR2's engine had a an awful lot of changes from the subsonic earlier versions.

If you look on Wikipedia, you'll see the Rolls-Royce Olympus engine has a page and the Rolls-Royce/Snecma Olympus 593 is given a separate page, such are the differences.

I'm sure you know that the English Electric Lightning was powered by a pair of RR Avon engines.

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Re: English Electric Lightning

Now *there* was a plane.

one overflew a U2 at 66,000 ft

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_Electric_Lightning#Climb

would love to have seen the USAF pilots face.

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Even Sr71 was quieter at take off than Concorde was,if tsr2 had ever been cleared for full thrust flights,you would have heard that beauty in the home counties from boscombe down before she even got off the end of runway.

Ahh,real 1960's military engines,never to be heard again,nobody dares treat the survivors like they did then..make yer skin crawl and hairs on back of neck tingle properly and deaf for days after,fun times.

This piece of yank poo will never even make it to prototype,let alone service.

An sst that was acceptable by public etc could be built,but there is no sustainable business model,the first bad depression wipes it out,cos it's border line when times are good,that was also one of concordes problems..

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Anonymous Coward

!!! ???

"Even Sr71 was quieter at take off than Concorde was"

Do you have a reference for this? I'd be astonished if it were true, but then again the SR-71 was an astonishing aircraft.

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MJI
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People often forget

That one small fleet of airliners have travelled more miles supersonic than all the others put together.

I have seen it somewhere but cannot find it now.

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Option 2:

"..... generated plenty of complaints around airports, which try to keep things as quiet as possible so as not to disturb nearby residents"

Some airports have solved this by quietly buying up land on the approach paths starting about 20 miles out, to ensure that it STAYS farmland.

Airports are invariably built in rural areas, but people build houses near them for the transportation facilities (just like towns grew around railways stops) and then complain about the noise. You'd be surprised how much land newer airport companies own as a way of ensuring history doesn't repeat.

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Re: Option 2:

Or how many have taken to positioning themselves on coasts and islands to reduce the odds.

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Noise complaints...

You get these even if the plane is flying or not. This was proven on the days the flights were canceled for various reasons. The "concerned public" called in anyway to complain.

Why fly? Well, on August 21st, a quick plane across the USA might be able to enjoy the eclipse for its entire length! Maybe they should get the SR-71 out of mothballs just to do that flight. Of course another reason to fly quickly is to make up the time waiting in lines and security theatre checkpoints we must all endure nowdays.

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Re: Noise complaints...

We had a series of tests conducted in the USA in 1964 to evaluate the public acceptance of sonic booms in preparation for our SST program. The public was generally accepting of the noise levels of up to eight events per day. But there was an outcry when NASA, having originally agreed to pay for any damage, dismissed many claims. It turns out that people were turning in claims for glass and plaster cracked by thunder among other things. Politically powerful people were upset and triggered an anti sonic boom campaign.

If sonic booms are intolerable, most of the southern and midwest USA would be uninhabitable due to frequent lightning/thunder storms.

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Fly at mach 5 over the oceans

I have a feeling that these low boom planes will still be to noisy.

If Reaction Engines/BAE Systems successfully test their SABRE (Synergistic Air-Breathing Rocket) engine, then their proposed LAPCAT mach 5 plane will be possible. This would be able to fly from any Atlantic to any Pacific coast in around 4 hours via the north or south poles all over oceans or the uninhabited antarctic. For non port cities, it can slow down to sub sonic speeds for the final (or initial) portion of the journey over land:

https://www.reactionengines.co.uk/vehicles/

http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/15268287.Space_plane_test_facility___39_up_and_running_by_2020__39_/

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Black Helicopters

Smells Like A Skunk Escaped

I wonder how much Lockheed is bringing to the project? It could be this slippery supersonic design has already flying for some time.

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Anonymous Coward

bad link courtesy of NASA

Unfortunately the arrogant sh**s of web designers at NASA have decided you can't see their page at

https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-completes-milestone-toward-quieter-supersonic-x-plane

at all unless you are running a browser of their choosing. Otherwise it's just an empty black screen - clever.

A fundamental principle of the WWW as originally envisaged was that it was client agnostic, but this has been forgotten by the show-offs who ponce up web pages with fancy visual tricks. The basic principle is that the presentation of a web page should degrade gracefully on less capable clients, with the text content as a bare minimum visible on all browsers (including Lynx). Rendering entire pages inaccessible unless they can render in full glory serves nobody.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: bad link courtesy of NASA

But this forgets one ancient adage: a picture is worth a thousand words, and there are SOME things you simply CANNOT properly put into words; the essential meaning gets lost in the translation. Just as it's impossible to make a born-deaf person really appreciate a piece of classical music, so too can Lynx never be able to really display the works of, say, the Louvre (IOW, something that has to actually be SEEN to be appreciated).

That's why disabled accommodation is so tricky. There are some things you simply CAN'T accommodate because there's no context.

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Y'know, this is real sweet n'all, but...

...but let's face it, gang. Supersonic airliners are so 1970s.

Screw that crap; I wanna go suborbital, man.

NYC to London in, like, 20 minutes. YEAH.

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Anonymous Coward

NASA is a little late to the party.

This has been in the works for a while.

http://www.aerionsupersonic.com/

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Coat

"Low Boom Flight Demonstration"

As Tim Nice-but-dim would say - 'seemed more like a thud to me. Or a bang.'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0815x8KzSQ

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Alert

Do what?

"... airports, which try to keep things as quiet as possible so as not to disturb nearby residents."

What a load of B*ll*cks. Airports do what makes most money and sod the neighbours.

Try living in Harpenden during Easterly ops.

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Re: Do what?

Try living in any location when the bloody hot-air balloons are launching on what should be a quiet weekend dawn. I had the misfortune of living in Yountville in the Napa Valley while we were waiting for this place to close escrow. Never had a Saturday or Sunday lie-in. Awful, awful things, hot air balloons. Should be outlawed for tourist use.

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