Aerodynamics: Charged Aircraft

Beyond the sound barrier, the main obstacle to commercial supersonic flight is the miles-wide swath of broken windows, cracked plaster, frazzled nerves and aching eardrums that might be left behind by sonic boom. Resigned to it, airlines are planning either routes over water and desert or subsonic speeds over populated areas. Either solution could cut deeply into the time-distance economies that could otherwise be gained by flying huge planes faster than the speed of sound.

Now it appears that operators of supersonic transports may have a happier choice. On the basis of preliminary experiments, two scientists at California's Northrop Corp....

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