A supersonic jet with no front window? NASA’s X-59 uses a 4K monitor instead.

The much anticipated X-59 QueSST Supersonic jet, co-developed by Lockheed Martin and NASA — which promises “quiet” supersonic — may make pilots think they are flying a simulator. Due to the uniquely slipperly shape of the airframe, a frontal window would have to cover the entire front. Engineers developed a novel solution: a monitor display.

Inside the simplified cockpit is one sizeable 4K monitor, reminiscent of the centre monitor of a simulator. Borrowing a page from Star Trek, the pilots must trust a monitor for frontal visual input, supported by instrumentation on two large digital displays. Yes, there are side-windows and an “over the top” canopy with a clear view; but the main view is via cameras and monitors.

 

The X-59 concept being developed by Lockheed Martin for NASA. NASA image. Notice the lack of a front window.

 

The X59 is a next-generation super aerodynamic version of a supersonic jet, promising “Quiet Supersonic Technology” (QueSST). The new viewing system certainly promises some advances in frontal input, including enhanced views from two external cameras. The video from the two cameras is merged and enhanced with instrument readings, borrowing a page from automobiles with projected instrumentation on windshields. Except, in this case, the pilot will rely on video and instrumentation exclusively; there is no windshield.

 

The front view in the X59 is provided by a 4K monitor with supporting digital displays below. There are side windows. NASA.

 

When combined with “obstacle detection” systems, there are significant advantages in terms of input and reaction-time. Pilots can enhance views, glance down at a second monitor displaying terrain, and see the speed and other data right in their main field of view.

X-59 aerodynamics should reduce the sonic boom

The primary aspiration of the X-59 QueSST is a slippery aerodynamic supersonic airframe that should reduce sonic booms when breaking the sound “barrier.”

Lockheed Martin is developing the working prototype to demonstrate viability and proof of concept — and for the regulatory community. This is especially important with the hoped-for return of supersonic to civilian airspace. Any craft travelling faster than the speed of sound, at about 762 mph (depending on temperature), makes a boom. Regulators are cautious of approving supersonic civilian aircraft that are too disturbing, remembering the experience of the Concorde jets.

 

 

Did you miss this?

Other Popular Stories

  • Renewables will surpass natural gas, nuclear by 2016: IEA
  • Magna to acquire British auto body firm Stadco
  • Toronto an ideal location for Amazon HQ 2: If Amazon needs to hire tech employees, GTA and Canada has the edge
  • Toyota Canada top producer for first time in 2015; RAV4 on a roar
  • Helicopter flight simulator to train offshore rig pilots in Newfoundland
  • Slower growth, need for new markets challenge Canada's oil producers
  • Giant wind-solar development announces SMA Canada for O&M
  • Global car sales will set new record in 2014: Scotiabank
  • SpaceX Mars Exploration By 2019? Maybe not.
  • Inter Pipeline will spend $2.6 billion to transport bitumen to oil sands projects
  • March wholesale, retail sales lower in most sectors: Statistics Canada
  • Stratasys unveils first multi-resin colour 3D printer
  • Researchers claim micro-fluidics breakthrough with liquid metal pump
  • Airbus and Bombardier Finalize Deal
  • Aerospace industry trade war? $2 billion at stake as Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister reviews Boeing sole sourcing
  • Solar power companies report growth
  • Oil drags capital spending down, though some bright spots remain: Statistics Canada
  • Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, first electric minivan, rolls out in Windsor
  • Research: What is the temperature effect on battery backs in Electric Vehicles: charging up to 3 times longer in coldest temperatures
  • Government money to Ontario auto parts maker will ensure jobs
Scroll to Top