The benefits of Supersonic natural laminar flow (SNLF) for a commercial aircraft were first posited in the 1990’s by aerodynamicist Dr. Richard Tracy (a founder of Aerion and its chief technology officer). His cutting-edge research under contract to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) led to proving flights with NASA from 1999 to 2014.
In a series of groundbreaking NASA flights, in which an Aerion-constructed SNLF airfoil was carried beneath an F-15B at speeds up to Mach 2, extensive laminar flow matched analytical predictions from Aerion’s proprietary software programs.
The flights thus accomplished two goals—demonstrating robust laminar flow at subsonic and supersonic speeds; and validating the predictive capabilities of Aerion’s computer design tools, which are necessary to take practical advantage of SNLF.
NASA F-15B with SNLF wing mounted below fuselage. Despite disturbed airflow from the body of the F-15B, laminar flow remained stable and robust as shown below.
Aerion software rapidly analyzes airflow patterns over wings and airframe in a process of continuous refinement and optimization. This is the path to efficient supersonic flight and only Aerion possesses the tools—and the patents—to do it.