At Luxury Travel Diary we are super excited by the relaunch of Supersonic jet travel. Spike Aerospace revealed today that the S-512 Supersonic Jet, at its cruising speed of Mach 1.6 (1100mph), will produce a very low sonic boom — less than 70 PLdB (perceived loudness level). When the aircraft flies overhead, someone on the ground will hear only a very soft muffled clap.
Vik Kachoria, President of Spike Aerospace said “Low sonic boom flights are critical for the revival of faster air travel. The Spike S-512 will be able to fly supersonic overland without slowing down to subsonic speeds.”
The aircraft will offer flights about twice as fast over Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. London to Dubai will be only 3 hours instead of 6 and it will take just 5 hours to fly from Dubai to Shanghai. Spike’s Senior Engineer and Certification Expert, Randall White said “The US Congress will need to amend the prohibition of supersonic flight over the US before passengers can fly from NYC to LA in just 3 hours.”
Spike Aerospace believes that a low-sonic boom supersonic aircraft is the only option for a global market. Who wants to spend $100 million USD plus for a supersonic jet that can’t fly supersonic to most cities? The Spike S-512 Supersonic Jet does not have that limitation. The company was able to design a low-sonic boom aircraft by taking advantage of three factors: aircraft size, weight, and aerodynamic configuration. Because the Spike S-512 only carries 18 passengers, it is significantly shorter and lighter than the Concorde. The Spike S-512’s modified delta wing features a highly swept inboard wing with a slender outboard wing section. The sweep of the wing is a key factor in lowering the magnitude of the shock waves and sonic boom”.
The sonic boom signature on the ground is further reduced by careful optimization of the shape of the airplane. Extensive use of advanced Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software was made to optimize the shape parameters of the wing and the fuselage to minimize the shock strengths. Interaction between the shocks and flow expansion regions occurring on the surface of the airplane were analyzed and then designed to mitigate the strength of the shocks.
To understand how these factors interplay to create or reduce a sonic boom, imagine the wake a cargo ship racing through a harbor would make. Since a cargo ship is optimized for carrying large loads, not speed or performance, it tends to create a significant wake. A much smaller, lighter, and well-designed sailboat, by comparison, will slice through the water efficiently and with minimal wake.
Similarly, the Concorde was a 100 passenger plane weighing about 400,000 lbs and over 200 ft long. A gorgeous plane that was ahead of its time, but not a lot of design effort was put into minimizing the sonic boom. As a result of size, weight, and design, it generated a sonic boom of over 105 PLdB which rattled houses and sounded like a very loud thunderclap right overhead. That was the key issue limiting its flights primarily to the NYC to Paris/London route.
Fortunately, the Spike S-512 will not be so severely restricted. The aircraft will make every destination easier and faster to reach. As with most technologies, costs will come down over time and availability will be more widespread. Soon, the benefits of supersonic flight will be offered on larger supersonic airliners and can be enjoyed by everyone.
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