The future of high speed aviation. Supersonic Natural Laminar Flow. Pioneered by Aerion.

Every aircraft takes advantage of Natural Laminar Flow (NLF) to some extent. Designers and Aerodynamicists strive to generate as much NLF as possible but always end up with compromises. Natural laminar flow at supersonic speeds was proven to exist in a rocket test in 1947. Dr. Richard Tracy had a vision to design a supersonic jet that took advantage of this technology to the fullest. His doctoral thesis and subsequent career have evolved around this technology. Aerion’s patented tapered bi-convex wing proven in 1999 on a NASA F-15 test bed was indeed the starting point of our technology advantage. Aerion through judicious use of CFD, MDO, wind tunnel and continuing real world flight testing has harnessed Supersonic Natural Laminar Flow for use today and well into the future of aviation.

Technology maturation

During the past decade Aerion has conducted numerous natural laminar flow tests in world-class wind tunnels and aboard supersonic jets. These tests have verified the existence of large extents of natural laminar flow (NLF) on wings and validated our ability to predict and optimize for laminar flow. Aerion is now focused on more detailed aspects of laminar flow.

In recent testing, we installed a flow calibration plate and support system structure to the centerline pylon of NASA's F-15B test aircraft at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center and cleared the envelope to Mach 2. You can watch the chase plane footage in the video here. These flight tests surveyed the flow field and pressures around the calibration plate to facilitate the design of the test article for Phase II tests, which will focus on the effects of surface imperfections.

Today, we continue our mission to perfect the NLF wing technology and establish the world's first practical and efficient supersonic business jet, as well as improving the performance of subsonic aircraft.

Sonic boom compliance

The Aerion supersonic business jet (SBJ) will operate under existing sonic boom regulations with the potential to adapt as regulations are changed. For flights over the United States, where supersonic speed is not permitted, the SBJ can cruise efficiently at speeds up to Mach 0.99. In other populated parts of the world, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regulations imply that a sonic boom may not reach the ground. There, Aerion's SBJ can cruise as fast as Mach 1.1, while speeds up to Mach 1.6 will be feasible over oceans and other unrestricted areas.

As regulators consider how to handle a new generation of supersonic aircraft, Aerion has been a proactive and collaborative participant in the journey. We regularly brief government agencies on our program and participate in public forums to encourage development of new standards. However, the Aerion SBJ was designed from the outset to operate within existing regulations and thus does not require a rules change prior to its introduction into service.