Images: Mini-jet designer thinks supersonic
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Supersonic Aerospace International has designs for the Quiet Supersonic Transport (QSST), a business plane that could travel at supersonic speed with a minimal sonic boom. The Lockheed Martin “Skunk Works” design would allow planes to fly between Mach 1.6 and Mach 1.8 (almost 1,200 miles per hour) over populated land areas–twice the speed of current airlines. A flight from New York to Los Angeles could take as little as 2 hours and 15 minutes, the company says.rnrn
The first test flight is expected in 2011 and the first commercial flights are slated for 2013. SAI was founded in 2000 by J. Michael Paulson, son of Gulfstream founder and former CEO Allen Paulson.
The immediate vision of the QSST is for a small, luxury business plane that will carry about 12 passengers.
The Lockheed Martin QSST design, with its aerodynamic shape and inverted V-tail, will theoretically allow it to suppress sonic booms to less than 1/100th of the level of the Concorde, according to Supersonic Aerospace International. The sonic signature is expected to be comparable to a sound level between the interior of a car at 70 miles per hour and normal talking levels.rnrnrn
SAI is looking at a range for the plane of 4,600 miles and an engine thrust of 33,000 pounds. Plans call for the QSST to carry a maximum weight of 153,000 pounds; it will be 132.1 feet long, with a wingspan of 63 feet and an overall height of 21.3 feet.
When the plane finally gets into the air, it is envisioned that pilots will be able to use easy-to-read touch-screen controls with maps and charts.
The QSST is not expected to be used for ordinary air travelers. Its target will be business executives or government officials who are willing to pay a price for speed. Comfy chairs will be a major feature of the roomy cabin.
No cramped, tuck-in-the-elbows computer use on this plane.
And there’s a couch to take a nap.
A service galley is located at the end of the cabin.
The cockpit from outside.
Flying among the clouds.