L-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29367 posts, RR: 61 Reply 1, posted (11 years 7 months 2 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 682 times:
It really isn't a structural issue as opposed to an aerodynamic one.
True there are some structural features to deal with the heat generated by supersonic flight. The big issue is that you want to try and get the airframe to fit inside the "cone of the shockwave". It is a lot less draggy on the airframe if you do that.
That is one of the reasons that supersonic aircraft in general have those really long pointy noses. An aircraft with a blunter nose can't get it's airframe within the shockwave so it would need much more power to exceed the speed of sound.
OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
Ikarus From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 3524 posts, RR: 2 Reply 2, posted (11 years 7 months 2 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 670 times:
It is a question what a plane is designed to do. As mentioned, a blunt airliner would not fit the fuselage and wings behind the generated shockwave. It would also create a normal shockwave significantly in front of the nose, and not an oblique shock at the nose, which would result in far more energy being lost and hence drag. Furthermore, a subsonic airliner flying supersonically is not easily controllable. It is not designed to be controllable at supersonic speeds. The loads on the airframe would be higher, but for a short period of time it is survivable (eg the China Airlines 747SP, or the new Bombardier regional Jet, both of which survived supersonic flight for a short time - but as far as I can remember, the 747 suffered structural deformations). In general, a subsonic airliner accidentally going supersonic will be very hard to control, and it will quickly lose velocity due to the substantial increase in drag, and become subsonic again.
What is different about Concorde? The aerodynamic shape. The materials - it is far more heat-resistant. It is optimised for supersonic flight at the design stage.
SUDDEN From Sweden, joined Jul 2001, 4127 posts, RR: 6 Reply 6, posted (11 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 576 times:
I also learned from looking at Discovery this weekend, that if you would try to go supersonic with a plane like the 747 for ex. the shockwave would bouns of the nose and then hitting the wings, making the A/C crash.