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Proposed NASA budget could lead to a number of new X-Planes

CammNut

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D8 is one of five concepts being evaluated as potential manned X-planes under the 10-year, 2017-23 New Aviation Horizons program. NASA wants to do more than one, sequentially - if it can get the funding, which is questionable. Scale for all of them will be somewhere between 30% and 40% as weight = cost and that is as small as you can go and still reliably extrapolate the flight-test data up to a full-size aircraft
 

Flyaway

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Potential Mach 2.2 Airliner Market Pegged At $260 Billion

http://m.aviationweek.com/technology/potential-mach-22-airliner-market-pegged-260-billion
 

Flyaway

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Seems most appropriate to put this in this thread.

NASA To Test Drag-Reducing Inflight Wing Folding

Boeing will introduce folding wings to commercial aviation when the 777X airliner enters service at the end of 2019. But the devices could become commonplace on future aircraft as wingspans increase in an effort to reduce drag and fuel burn. The 777X has almost 24 ft. more wingspan than today’s 777 to optimize lift distribution and maximize cruise efficiency. Folding the tips on the ground keeps the larger aircraft compatible with existing taxiway and gate size restrictions. But NASA ...

http://m.aviationweek.com/commercial-aviation/nasa-test-drag-reducing-inflight-wing-folding
 

GeorgeA

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Lockheed Martin HWB-X hybrid wing-body demonstrator.

https://twitter.com/TheWoracle/status/819211718576443395
 

XP67_Moonbat

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I love those models in the tweet. And that Skunk Works swag got me drooling!
 

FighterJock

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XP67_Moonbat said:
I love those models in the tweet. And that Skunk Works swag got me drooling!
You are not alone XP67_Moonbat, I have seen that tweet too. I do hope that Skunk Works design will see the light of day. B)
 

Flyaway

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NASA Moves Closer To Quiet Supersonic Demo

http://aviationweek.com/space/nasa-moves-closer-quiet-supersonic-demo
 

Flyaway

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NASA Wind Tunnel Tests Lockheed Martin’s X-Plane Design For A Quieter Supersonic Jet

http://www.manufacturing.net/news/2017/02/nasa-wind-tunnel-tests-lockheed-martins-x-plane-design-quieter-supersonic-jet
 

Flyaway

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Lockheed and NASA move toward design review for supersonic X-plane

Lockheed Martin should complete a preliminary design review of its quiet supersonic X-plane by June and will move onto a critical design review with NASA, a Skunk Works programme lead says.
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/lockheed-and-nasa-move-toward-design-review-for-sup-435437/
 

Flyaway

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New NASA press release

The QueSST for Quiet

Can you imagine flying from New York to Los Angeles in half the time?

Think about it. Commercial flight over land in a supersonic jet would mean less time in-flight; less time in a cramped seat next to your new, and probably unwanted, best friend; fewer tiny bags of peanuts; and more time at your destination.

Couldn’t Concorde do that? Nope. Concorde, which last flew in 2003, utilized 1950s technology, was only supersonic over the ocean and was deemed too noisy to fly over people. It also burned a lot of fuel and was an expensive ticket. Approximately $15,000 for a round-trip seat in today’s dollars! That makes our wallets hurt.

QueSST experimental aircraft in the 8’ x 6’ wind tunnel
QueSST experimental aircraft in the 8’ x 6’ wind tunnel.
Credits: NASA
Ok, so just build a new Concorde with new technology that saves fuel. Well, it’s really not that easy. Since 1973, supersonic flight over land has been forbidden in the United States because of the noise from sonic boom. A new supersonic commercial airplane needs to beat the boom problem and be efficient as well.

That’s what NASA’s Commercial Supersonic Technology Project is trying to do. After years of work, we think we can bring something new to the table that produces acceptable in-flight noise to communities along flight paths. We are ready to prove it, and that is where the Quiet Supersonic Technology (QueSST) experimental aircraft (X-plane) concept being developed by NASA and partner Lockheed Martin comes in.

Here’s the lowdown on the project:

Although the overall goal is improved quality of life for those on the ground and those in the air, the big step in the near term is to show we can beat the boom. To accomplish this, a unique X-plane, one that uses distinctive shaping – a long nose, highly swept wings, etc. – is being designed. This piloted X-plane will look to prove that sonic booms can be turned into sonic thumps, and eventually help make the case for updating the rule against supersonic flight over land.
What’s QueSST? QueSST is a preliminary design concept of that unique X-plane. It’s not an airliner. The design relies mostly on computer models to ensure all the pieces will come together for a future real airplane.
To verify the aerodynamic performance predictions of the fuselage shape, control surfaces and engine inlet the NASA-Lockheed team has built a scale model of the QueSST design for wind-tunnel testing. NASA Glenn Research Center’s 8’ X 6’ wind tunnel was selected for this testing because of its size and unique capability to test at a large range of speeds.
So, what’s next? NASA will review the test data and complete the preliminary design review. If data is positive and approval is obtained, then a contract for the design, fabrication and testing of a single-seat flight demonstration X-plane could be awarded. Flight testing could begin as early as 2021.

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/the-quesst-for-quiet
 

Flyaway

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NASA completes preliminary design review for supersonic X-plane

NASA will soon ask companies to bid for a contract to build a supersonic X-plane whose preliminary design review was completed on 23 June by Lockheed Martin.
It also will serve as a testbed for other technologies. Instead of a forward windscreen, the X-plane pilot will view the aircraft’s forward path from a ultra high-definition video produced by a camera installed in a fuselage-mounted fairing, says David Richwine, who managed the preliminary design project called the Quiet Supersonic Transport (QueSST).
A newly-released rendering of Lockheed’s preliminary design reveals other features of the highly-swept, delta-wing jet. A row of eight vortex generators are arrayed over the top of the fuselage just aft of the cockpit and a set of moving forward canard surfaces.
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/nasa-completes-preliminary-design-review-for-superso-438822/
 

bobbymike

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http://aviationweek.com/commercial-aviation/nasa-s-slower-x-plane-pace-could-have-impact-industry
 

Flyaway

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More to the above.

NASA’s Slower X-Plane Pace Could Have An Impact On Industry

NASA remains committed to its goal of returning to X-plane flight demonstrators, but at a slower pace that has some in industry concerned about their priority and relevance.

When the agency unveiled its New Aviation Horizons initiative in 2016, it planned a sequence of X-plane programs initiated as frequently as 18 months apart. But NASA did not receive the significant boost in aeronautics funding it sought, and its fiscal 2018 budget request is lower still.

The $624 million sought in 2018 is sufficient to launch the first X-plane, the Quiet Supersonic Technology (QueSST) low-boom flight demonstrator planned to fly in 2021. But under current plans the first of a series of Ultra-Efficient Subsonic Technology (UEST) X-planes will not follow it into the skies before 2026.
The agency is taking a similar approach to the first subsonic X-plane, having begun with contracts to define system requirements for five different configurations. Under current plans, a draft request for proposals (RFP) for the “UEST1” X-plane is to be released in fiscal 2018, says Fay Collier, IASP associate director for flight strategy.

The final RFP is to follow in fiscal 2019, with the intent to competitively select two concepts to take through to preliminary design reviews. One configuration will then be selected for the X-plane. First flight is planned for fiscal 2026, but “we are looking at ways to bring that to the left a bit, somewhere between fiscal 2024 and 2026,” Collier says. A second “UEST2” X-plane would follow five years later.
The slowing of the X-plane initiative highlights a growing tension between the pace with which industry is evolving and the speed at which NASA can respond. The agency is looking at how it can support the emerging urban air mobility market, and the earliest it could have a dedicated program in place is fiscal 2021, says Jaiwon Shin, associate administrator for aeronautics. This contrasts with Uber’s ambitious plans for experimental flights in 2020 and commercial service by 2023.
http://m.aviationweek.com/commercial-aviation/nasa-s-slower-x-plane-pace-could-have-impact-industry
 

Flyaway

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Supersonic X-plane's unusual inlet performs well in wind tunnel

A series of wind tunnel tests revealed the unusual engine inlet positioning for NASA’s supersonic X-plane meets the performance goals for the Lockheed Martin-designed aircraft, a NASA Glenn Research Center aeronautics engineer says.
A series of wind tunnel tests revealed the unusual engine inlet positioning for NASA’s supersonic X-plane meets the performance goals for the Lockheed Martin-designed aircraft, a NASA Glenn Research Center aeronautics engineer says.

The quiet supersonic transport (QueSST) X-plane demonstrator will begin a series of flight tests in 2020 with an inlet placed atop the fuselage and behind the cockpit, a rare configuration for a supersonic aircraft not seen since early 1950s designs, such as the Douglas X-3 Stiletto and Convair F2Y Sea Dart.

The unusual engine placement is driven by the purpose of the QueSST demonstrator, explains Ray Castner, a NASA Glenn engineer, speaking at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s annual event in Oshkosh, Wisconsin on 25 July.
“Most supersonic aircraft have the engines near the front on the nose or underneath in the clean air flow,” Castner says. “We now have our engine up top and that’s for boom-shielding. That way, the disturbance from the engine goes up, and does not propagate down to the ground and contributes to boom signature.”

NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, performed 73h of testing of a model of the X-plane in the facililty’s 8ft X 6ft wind tunnel, the first such laboratory tests of such an engine inlet position for a supersonic aircraft of which the agency is aware.

The result satisfied NASA’s engineers that the X-plane’s unique inlet position will work.

“This inlet is actually more efficient than I thought it would be,” Castner says. “It was about 96-98% efficient, so that’s pretty good.”
Although the positioning was different, the nature of the NASA’s QueSST demonstration allowed Lockheed to use a relatively simple inlet design. NASA plans to have the aircraft take-off, make two passes over a city at Mach 1.4, then land. The design includes a diverterless bump to steer boundary layer airflow away from the inlet, but requires no moving pieces required for supersonic aircraft designed to cruise at higher speeds.

“It’s a [sonic] boom demonstrator. It’s not an inlet demonstrator. There is a higher performing inlet that we could have chosen, but a lot of those inlets have moveable parts,” Castner says.

NASA’s concerns about boundary layer flow over the top of the fuselage with the inlet’s placement drove other design decisions, he adds. After Lockheed completed the preliminary design, NASA released an image of the demonstrator with six vortex generators set between the cockpit canopy and the engine inlet. Lockheed placed the vortex generators there to energise the boundary layer flow and prevent the inlet from ingesting that relatively stagnant air, he says.
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/supersonic-x-planes-unusual-inlet-performs-well-in-439849/
 

Flyaway

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New Supersonic Technology Designed to Reduce Sonic Booms

Residents along Florida’s Space Coast will soon hear a familiar sound — sonic booms. But instead of announcing a spacecraft’s return from space, they may herald a new era in faster air travel.

NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida is partnering with the agency’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California, Langley Research Center in Virginia, and Space Florida for a program called Sonic Booms in Atmospheric Turbulence, or SonicBAT II. Starting in mid-August, NASA F-18 jets will take off from the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) and fly at supersonic speeds while agency researchers on the ground measure the effects of low-altitude turbulence on sonic booms.
According to John Graves of NASA Flight Operations in Kennedy’s Spaceport Integration and Services, for projects such as SonicBAT, NASA coordinates with Space Florida who manages the facility’s schedule.

“Working with representatives from the Armstrong center, we go through Space Florida to request use of the runway,” he said. “It’s an arrangement that works very well.”

The F-18 will begin flights on Aug. 21, flying two to four times a day over a period of ten days. But the actual test window may be two weeks to allow for weather and other possible delays.

Graves explains that SonicBAT is an unusual test in that it uses a typical military aircraft with its loud sonic boom to help engineers better understand the sounds from future quiet supersonic aircraft

“We’re hoping we can eventually lower sonic booms to a low rumble,” he said. “The goal is to eventually accommodate jets that can fly from New York to Los Angeles in two hours.”

Armstrong started SonicBAT investigations at Edwards Air Force Base last year. This will be the second round of tests.

“Edwards is a hot, dry environment,” he said. “The team at the Armstrong center wants to now try to collect similar data in the hot, humid climate we have here.”
http://www.parabolicarc.com/2017/08/02/supersonic-technology-designed-reduce-sonic-booms/
 

Flyaway

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NASA Moves Electric-Propulsion Components Closer To Reality

Lightweight megawatt-scale drive systems are essential if electric propulsion is ever to succeed in commercial aircraft. Systems much more powerful than those in cars and far lighter than in ships are required. NASA has launched research into electric motors and power converters at the megawatt level, as these could support the near- or medium-term development of partially turboelectric and hybrid-electric propulsion systems for aircraft up to single-aisle airliner size. Hardware is already ...
http://m.aviationweek.com/commercial-aviation/nasa-moves-electric-propulsion-components-closer-reality
 

flateric

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https://www.nasa.gov/aero/industry-provides-nasa-with-ideas-for-next-x-plane
 

flanker

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NASA research agreements (NRA) have been awarded to the University of Illinois and Ohio State University to develop electric machines with a specific power goal of 13 kW/kg and an efficiency target of greater than 93%. NASA Glenn Research Center is developing a third machine with the goals of 16 kW/kg and greater than 98% efficiency.
Aggressive. I will assume that is continues power goal and not peak power. Electric motors are already extremely power dense, currently sitting at 5-7kW/kg but reaching 13-16kW will be quite difficult. Also, the comments to that article are cancer.
 

Flyaway

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Past and future X-Planes.

https://youtu.be/oPRj5rpe2RQ
 

Flyaway

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NASA Relearning Lost X-plane Skills With Low-Boom Demo

Preparations for NASA’s first purpose-designed, large-scale X-plane in decades are underway at its research centers across the U.S. as the agency moves toward selecting a company to build the eagerly awaited low-boom supersonic demonstrator.

Low-speed testing of the preliminary X-plane design produced by Lockheed Martin Skunk Works is wrapping up at the 14 X 22-ft. wind tunnel here at NASA Langley Research Center in Virginia, while flight tests are refining the external vision system (XVS) the pilot will need to fly the unusual aircraft.

High-speed testing of the preliminary design review (PDR) configuration has been conducted in the 8 X 6-ft. supersonic tunnel at NASA Glenn Research Center in Ohio, where wind-tunnel tests to measure its reduced sonic boom are planned.

At NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center, work is underway on preparing the single-seat, single-engine X-plane to be flown, first to expand the flight envelope at Edwards AFB, California, then to measure public response to low booms with flights over U.S. communities.

Proposals to build the Low-Boom Flight Demonstration (LBFD) X-plane have been submitted, and NASA is in source selection. Only Lockheed and supersonic startup Spike Aerospace are known to have bid, and the number of proposals received has not been released.

Lockheed’s offering for NASA’s first manned supersonic X-plane since the thrust-vectoring X-31 in 1990 is based on the slender aircraft concept developed under a 17-month Quiet Supersonic Transport (QueSST) preliminary design contract awarded in 2016 (AW&ST March 14-27, 2016, p. 21). NASA and Lockheed completed the PDR in June 2017, and the data generated was provided to potential bidders.
http://m.aviationweek.com/technology/nasa-relearning-lost-x-plane-skills-low-boom-demo
 

hesham

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Electric X-Plane Nears Crucial Battery Test (X-57);

http://aviationweek.com/business-aviation/electric-x-plane-nears-crucial-battery-test?NL=AW-05&Issue=AW-05_20171031_AW-05_476&sfvc4enews=42&cl=article_1&utm_rid=CPEN1000002229670&utm_campaign=12344&utm_medium=email&elq2=86222c60d44a4e0caf753a0126aabfe7
 

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Flyaway

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Aviation Renaissance: NASA Advances Concepts for Next-gen Aircraft

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/aviation-renaissance-nasa-advances-concepts-for-next-gen-aircraft

https://youtu.be/dOK446jAsAw
 

Flyaway

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NASA X-Plane Gets Closer to Electric Flight

NASA's next X-plane, the all-electric X-57 Maxwell, is getting closer to its maiden flight. Engineers at Scaled Composites in Mojave, California, along with prime contractor on the program Empirical Systems Aerospace (ESAero), are preparing to integrate electric systems into a Tecnam P2006T to convert it to the X-57. The first electric version of the aircraft, known as Mod II, will replace the P2006T's gas-driven Rotax engines with electric motors and a battery pack to power the plane.
https://www.popularmechanics.com/flight/a21564893/nasa-x-plane-gets-closer-to-electric-flight/
 

Flyaway

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A Look Inside the X-59 QueSST Cockpit

The pilot of NASA’s X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology, or QueSST, aircraft will navigate the skies in a cockpit unlike any other. There won’t be a forward-facing window. That’s right; it’s actually a 4K monitor that serves as the central window and allows the pilot to safely see traffic in his or her flight path, and provides additional visual aids for airport approaches, landings and takeoffs. The 4K monitor, which is part of the aircraft’s eXternal Visibility System, or XVS, displays stitched images from two cameras outside the aircraft combined with terrain data from an advanced computing system. The two portals and traditional canopy are real windows however, and help the pilot see the horizon. The displays below the XVS will provide a variety of aircraft systems and trajectory data for the pilot to safely fly.

The XVS is one of several innovative solutions to help ensure the X-59’s design shape reduces a sonic boom to a gentle thump heard by people on the ground. Though not intended to ever carry passengers, the X-59 boom-suppressing technology and community response data could help lift current bans on supersonic flight over land and enable a new generation of quiet supersonic commercial aircraft. Click here to learn more.
 

Flyaway

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Lockheed Martin unveils plans for quiet supersonic passenger airplane

It's still at the conceptual stage, but a new supersonic airplane design unveiled this week by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics could be the clearest indication yet that we're on the brink of a new golden age of super-fast air travel.

The Quiet Supersonic Technology Airliner, a sleek twin-engined jet plane that will carry up to 40 passengers at speeds of Mach 1.8, was revealed on Wednesday at an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics conference in Dallas.
 

Vahe Demirjian

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One of the potential new X-planes to test technologies for non-BWB passenger planes could be designated X-52 given that it isn't based on a warplane (possible confusion with the B-52 was why the DoD called the F-18 Hornet loaned to NASA for aerodynamic research X-53 rather than X-52), while the full-scale BWB tech demonstrator might be designated X-48D given that Boeing years ago announced plans to build a full-size BWB tech demonstrator following the completion of the X-48C flight test program.
 

Flyaway

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NASA has successfully tested a large microphone array in California’s Mojave Desert as part of a flight series in preparation for the agency’s quiet supersonic X-plane, the X-59.

Flying at speeds faster than Mach 1, the speed of sound, typically produces a loud sonic boom heard on the ground below. NASA’s X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology X-plane, or X-59 QueSST for short, will fly over select communities around the U.S. to demonstrate the ability to reduce that sonic boom to a quiet thump. The data from these flights will be turned over to the Federal Aviation Administration to possibly establish new sound-based rules for supersonic flight over land. This could open the door to future faster-than-sound commercial cargo and passenger air travel.

Before these community overflights take place, however, the X-59 will first undergo an acoustic validation phase, during which NASA will deploy an approximately 30-mile-long array of specially-configured microphones to measure the X-59’s thumps, to verify that they are as quiet as predicted.

The recently-completed Carpet Determination In Entirety Measurements flight series, or CarpetDIEM, was NASA’s “first practice” for the X-59’s acoustic validation flights.
 

edwest

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With all due respect, why the interest in supersonic commercial flight? Again, respectfully, will the peasants be able to afford this or is this just for the rich? I understand military applications but I don't see the need in the civilian sector.
 

bobbymike

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How many technologies ubiquitous today were once only toys of the rich when first introduced?
 

Foo Fighter

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It would seem logical that hypersonic would be the next step rather than repeating supersonic airframes.
 

edwest

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I really doubt anything hypersonic will appear in the commercial sector.
 

Sundog

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if anything hypersonic appears in the commercial sector, it will be something like the SpaceX Starship, used for suborbital flight. Which, IIRC, Musk has proposed, but I doubt it's very cost effective.
 

edwest

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Cost effective. In the end that's all that matters. Getting one pound into near space, LEO, etc., that's all that matters.
 

RanulfC

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With all due respect, why the interest in supersonic commercial flight? Again, respectfully, will the peasants be able to afford this or is this just for the rich? I understand military applications but I don't see the need in the civilian sector.
There's some interest for supersonic flight for commercial use. Engines and aerodynamics have gotten to the point where economical near-transonic flight speeds are viable and the industry in general would like to proceed with very near super-sonic or supersonic flight designs. But, speeds around that point mean thing are going to either go supersonic on occasion or they may actually be designed to go supersonic and so the idea is NASA will test out 'quiet' supersonic shapes since regulations require avoidance of sonic booms over or near inhabited and built up areas.

Randy
 

Flyaway

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Cost effective. In the end that's all that matters. Getting one pound into near space, LEO, etc., that's all that matters.
Far too many questions of why and complaining about the cost is why we haven’t advanced in certain areas as fast as we should. Especially as time and again history has proven such claims to be ill founded.

One good thing about Elon Musk is he often appears to place both in their proper place.
 

Flyaway

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I really doubt anything hypersonic will appear in the commercial sector.
REL still very much have this in their roadmap, as they would do being as it’s been there since the very beginning for them.
 

edwest

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Again, cost for materials is the limiting factor. Hypersonic aircraft sounds like fun and would be interesting, but cost effective? No. And I mean by bean counters who don't care about the difference between an aircraft and a similar volume of lumber.
 
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