The Wing’s the Thing.
SUPERSONIC FLIGHT HAS BEEN POSSIBLE since 1947, when Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in the Bell X1. The great challenge, from a commercial standpoint, has been to make supersonic flight practical and efficient. The Concorde, for all its considerable technical advancements, failed in these key areas.
The Aerion AS2 is a fundamentally different aircraft in that it is efficient in both subsonic and supersonic flight, has greater range, and is more flexible in airport operations. This considerable difference is made possible by three critical advances: a new wing concept; new composite material technology; and advanced software, proprietary to Aerion, that permits analysis of complex transonic airflows.
FIGURES ON RIGHT: The traditional solution for supersonic flight has been a delta wing shape. Spanwise airflow trips the boundary layer (the air flowing closest to the wing), causing turbulent airflow.
Aerion’s thin wing and horizontal stabilizer, with moderately swept leading edges, reduce spanwise flow, allowing for laminar flow on these surfaces. Friction (viscous) drag over the wing is reduced by about 70 percent. When the wing and tail are integrated with an optimized airframe, net friction drag reduction is up to 20 percent which, in aeronautical terms, is a huge leap in efficiency.