Print 13 comment(s) - last by maugrimtr.. on May 8 at 10:50 AM

It also achieved Mach 5.1 at 60,000 feet

The X-51A Waverider completed the final flight of its test program last week, which proved to be the longest air-breathing hypersonic flight ever. 

The X-51A Waverider is an unmanned scramjet demonstration aircraft for hypersonic flight testing. Boeing developed the X-51 Waverider, and its first flight took place May 26, 2010. The idea of the program was to prove the viability of air-breathing, high-speed scramjet propulsion. 

May 1 marked the fourth and final test flight of the X-51A Waverider. It took off from the Air Force Test Center at Edwards AFB, California a little after 10 a.m. It was coupled with the B-52H Stratofortress, and released at 50,000 feet.

The X-51A Waverider reached Mach 4.8 in 26 seconds while powered by a rocket booster, but after separation from the booster, it achieved Mach 5.1 at 60,000 feet. 

Once the fuel supply was gone, the X-51A Waverider splashed into the Pacific Ocean. During its test flight, it traveled over 230 nautical miles in just over six minutes and collected 370 seconds of data.

"It was a full mission success," said Charlie Brink, X-51A program manager for the Air Force Research Laboratory Aerospace Systems Directorate. "I believe all we have learned from the X-51A Waverider will serve as the bedrock for future hypersonics research and ultimately the practical application of hypersonic flight."

Source: Wright-Patterson Air Force Base

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By Reclaimer77 on 5/6/2013 7:53:28 PM , Rating: 2
Are either truly commercial viable?

I remember reading how British Airways and Air France lost money every time the Concorde supersonic passenger jet took off. Despite their very high rate fees.

And that was then. Today it's even harder for airlines to make a profit in general.

I just can't imagine these designs being commercially viable for passenger craft use. They wouldn't be profitable when all's said and done unfortunately.

By Amiga500 on 5/7/2013 6:16:07 AM , Rating: 2

I was thinking payload to orbit...

Whether there is a market for people willing to pay millions (probably) to fly from NYC to Tokyo or similar in a couple of hours, I don't know, but I doubt it.

By Bubbacub on 5/7/2013 9:03:34 AM , Rating: 2
british airways made a stack load of cash from concorde in later years - but they did get the aircraft for next to nothing!

By kattanna on 5/7/2013 9:47:49 AM , Rating: 2
I remember reading how British Airways and Air France lost money every time the Concorde supersonic passenger jet took off. Despite their very high rate fees.

the biggest hurdle to supersonic aircraft being widely used is the sonic boom they produce. Which is why even the concorde had to fly subsonic when over population areas and really only went supersonic when over the open ocean.

until they can find a way to mitigate the sonic boom produced when going supersonic, there will be no viable widely used supersonic passenger aircraft.

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