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A Whitham-Theory Sonic-Boom Analysis of the TU-144 Aircraft at a Mach Number of 2.2Officially, the Tu-144 was the first supersonic-cruise, passenger-carrying aircraft to enter commercial service. Design, construction, and testing were carried out by the Soviet Union, flight certification was by the Soviet Union, and the only regular passenger flights were scheduled and flown across the territory of the Soviet Union. Although it was not introduced to international passenger service, there were many significant engineering accomplishments achieved in the design, production, and flight of this aircraft. Development of the aircraft began with a prototype stage. Systematic testing and redesign led to a production aircraft in discrete stages that measurably improved the performance of the aircraft from the starting concept to final aircraft certification. It flew in competition with the English-French Concorde for a short time, but was withdrawn from national commercial service due to a lack of interest by airlines outside the Soviet Union. NASA became interested in the Tu- 144 aircraft when it was offered for use as a flying "testbed" in the study of operating characteristics of a supersonic-cruise commercial airplane. Since it had been in supersonic-cruise service, the Tu- 144 had operational characteris'tics similar to those anticipated in the conceptual aircraft designs being studied by the United States aircraft companies. In addition to the other operational tests being conducted on the Tu-144 aircraft, it was proposed that two sets of sonic-boom pressure signature measurements be made. The first set would be made on the ground, using techniques and devices similar to those in reference I and many other subsequent studies. A second set would be made in the air with an instrumented aircraft flying close under the Tu-144 in supersonic flight. Such in-flight measurements would require pressure gages that were capable of accurately recording the flow-field overpressures generated by the Tu- 144 at relatively close distances under the vehicle. Therefore, an analysis of the Tu-144 was made to obtain predictions of pressure signature shape and shock strengths at cruise conditions so that the range and characteristics of the required pressure gages could be determined well in advance of the tests. Cancellation of the sonic-boom signature measurement part of the tests removed the need for these pressure gages. Since CFD methods would be used to analyze the aerodynamic performance of the Tu-144 and make similar pressure signature predictions, the relatively quick and simple Whitham-theory pressure signature predictions presented in this paper could be used for comparisons. Pressure signature predictions of sonic-boom disturbances from the Tu- 144 aircraft were obtained from geometry derived from a three-view description of the production aircraft. The geometry was used to calculate aerodynamic performance characteristics at supersonic-cruise conditions. These characteristics and Whitham/Walkden sonic-boom theory were employed to obtain F-functions and flow-field pressure signature predictions at a Mach number of 2.2, at a cruise altitude of 61000 feet, and at a cruise weight of 350000 pounds.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Mack, Robert J.
(NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA United States)
Date Acquired
August 19, 2013
Publication Date
December 1, 1999
Publication Information
Publication: 1995 NASA High-Speed Research Program Sonic Boom Workshop
Volume: 2
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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IDRelationTitle20000027647Analytic Primary1995 NASA High-Speed Research Program Sonic Boom Workshop
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