MMAE Seminar: Michael Buonanno, “Origins and Development of the Quiet Supersonic Technology X-Plane”

The Department of Mechanical, Materials, and Aerospace Engineering welcomes Michael Buonanno, Ph.D., air vehicle lead on the Low Boom Flight Demonstrator effort at Lookhead Martin Skunk Works® to discuss “Origins and Development of the Quiet Supersonic Technology X-Plane” on Friday, April 3.

In April 2018, NASA took a large step towards a return to supersonic passenger air travel with the contract award to a team lead by Lockheed Martin Skunk Works® in Palmdale, CA to build and fly a clean sheet, piloted supersonic X-plane. The driving requirement for this aircraft, designated X-59 QueSST, is to generate supersonic noise that is dramatically quieter than today’s aircraft, with a supersonic “heartbeat” rather than a “boom.”

This talk will provide a brief overview of the history of low boom shaping technology. It will also cover how modern Computational Fluid Dynamics and computing capabilities along with traditional wind tunnel testing allow us to shape supersonic aircraft to reduce the loudness of sonic booms by more than 30 dB compared to legacy supersonic platforms. Finally, an overview of the X-59 aircraft design will be presented along with a status of the build process and a discussion of how NASA plans to use the aircraft to collect the responses from the public community to support future efforts to revise the current FAA restrictions that prohibit supersonic flight overland.