Designers at the University of Miami finally have the impetus, which could enable them to create an aircraft that goes supersonic with 90 degrees rotation. Funded by NASA, the concept airplane promises to deliver a top speed of between Mach 1.6 and Mach 2.0 (1,200 – 1,500 MPH), thus allowing up to 70 passengers to travel from New York to Los Angeles in just two hours. Aside from flaunting highly efficient supersonic configuration with low drag and no sonic boom, the concept airplane would have excellent subsonic configuration to help place take off in under 2,500 feet.
Dubbed as SBiDir-FW, i.e. Supersonic Bi-Directional Flying Wing, the concept airplane doesn’t sweep its wings back for going supersonic. Instead, it rotates itself by 90 degrees for doing so; thus morphing its nose and tail into wings. In subsonic configuration, the winglets are quite visible. However, when it goes supersonic, the winglets fold down to enable airframe rotation and engine pod maintains forward orientation. The impeccable design ensures that aircraft has two completely types of wings that could shift modes with maximum ease.
Presently provided $100,000 funding for the wind tunnel testing, NASA will possibly pledge another $500,000 to the project in near future.