Commercial supersonic flights over US land were banned in 1973 due to the sonic boom. The X-59 should create a quiet sonic boom at the test point of Mach 1.4 at 55,000ft.


Mark Piesing writing for BBC Future, makes the following points:
  • It is a joint project between NASA and Lockheed Martin's secretive Skunk Works
  • The X-59 has a long nose and borrowed canopy so that the pilot won't have any forward vision. A digital eXternal Vision System will be used instead.
  • The long nose of the plane is designed to separate the shockwaves caused by the nose from that caused by the wing.
  • The engines are above the wing, so shockwaves don't travel towards the ground.


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