Aerion Supersonic Laminar Flow Testing

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Aerodynamic testing organized by Aerion Corporation in conjunction with NASA began Jan. 31, and may contribute to the design for the "world's first supersonic business jet," Aerion announced Thursday. Aerion is working with NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center on the project. It seeks "to measure the real-world robustness of supersonic natural laminar flow," which the company sees as "vital" to its design. Aerion has enlisted a NASA F-15B to carry its phase-two test article at speeds up to Mach 2.0. The tests are expected to continue well into March.

Aerion says the test article, slung in a centerline position on the belly of the F-15, has been engineered with consideration for the aerodynamic influences of its host jet. As a result the "40-inch vertical span by 80-inch chord phase two test article" is not an exact scaled physical representation of the concept vehicle's wing. However, Aerion says it is "sufficiently representative" for its purpose "to evaluate the effect of surface imperfections on the stability of supersonic boundary layers." The company says data collected during these tests will include temperature readings and "flow angularity." The company will use the results will help determine the standards for surface quality and assembly tolerances with regard to a full-size future-production supersonic business jet.