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NASA Funds Bi-Directional “Flying Wing” Aircraft with $100,000

by on September 2, 2012

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Gecheng Zha from the University of Miami’s SBiDir-FW  has gained $100,000 of NASA funding and will get another $500,000 if the aircrafts early development is up to spec.

The craft is very unique, not just because it looks like a ninja throwing star, but because it will produce very little to no sonic boom.  The plane will travel over 3,000 miles an hour

This is from the planes NASA page, “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. 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. The superior supersonic aerodynamic performance is benefited from the sharp nose and ultra-slender body with a low aspect ratio of 0.33, which translates to a very high subsonic aspect ratio of 33 for high subsonic performance. This proposal has three objectives: 1) design refinement of a supersonic SBiDir-FW BJ configuration using CFD; 2) mission analysis assisted with CFD simulation for the supersonic SBiDir-FW BJ to study the feasibility; and 3) wind tunnel testing of the SbiDir-FW BJ to verify its supersonic aerodynamic performance and sonic boom signature. The research team is highly qualified to perform the proposed tasks.” – NASA

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  • September 3, 2012 at 1:55 am

    So the craft rotates 90* so the pilots have to turn 90* to see where they’re going according to the picture above? That leaves them 1) unable to see where they’re going, 2) they and their passengers receive a lateral G-force (we’re talking about faster than Mach 1 now aren’t we?) until reaching cruise. I think that might be a bit uncomfortable…This is an incredible concept design though. Mach with minimal boom for a commerical air liner.. if it could do that using some kind of ultra efficient super-cruise where it could go beyond mach 1 without an afterburner (think F-22) that would make that the future of air travel!

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