NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, in partnership with Aerion Corp., is preparing to fly another series of Supersonic Boundary Layer Transition (SBLT-II) project flights on its F-15B Research Testbed aircraft in early 2013. Engineers are continuing an on-going investigation of the extent and robustness of natural laminar flow at supersonic speeds.
The experiment consists of flying a small test airfoil, or wing section, attached underneath the F-15B. Conducting the experiment in a real-world environment will enable engineers to capture data that will then be used to refine the airfoil design. The objective is to better understand when air transitions from laminar, or smooth, flow to rough, turbulent flow over a wing surface. The airfoil design, once validated and refined, could be adapted to the wing of Aerion's proposed supersonic business jet.
Laminar airflow results in less aerodynamic drag, which improves overall efficiency and reduces fuel consumption, one of the goals of NASA's Environmentally Responsible Aviation project.
For more on the Supersonic Boundary Layer Transition flight tests, visit:
and Aerion Corporation press release at: