Deputy Director NASA Dryden Flight Research Center
I left off begging a question in my lastblog: despite 60 years of modernity that include six trips to the moon andback, the advent of the internet, and in the field of medicine things like magneticresonance imaging and nano technology, not to mention Voyager leaving our solar system, we are still flying at virtuallythe same speed and altitude as did passengers on the first commercial jetservice in 1952. Why? Has aeronautical technology peaked? Is aerospace a“mature technology” the same way that dirigibles are? Are there no morequestions to ask in this field? Or are we on the cusp of the next golden era ofaircraft development.
When the Germans asked General AnthonyMcAuliffe to surrender at the Battle of the Bulge in 1944, he reportedly said:“Nuts!” That’s my answer to the rhetorical question I posed.
First of all, there are plenty ofaeronautical questions left to ask and answer, which is why, after more than 60years, we’re still here at the same desert outpost those 13 people came to in1946.
Here’s some questions: can we makeaircraft fly supersonically—over land—and suppress the shock wave that goes withit enough so that the noise is ...