Similar work is conducted at NASA's Langley Research
Center in Hampton, Virginia, where volunteers from the
local community rated sonic booms according to how
disruptive they determined the sound to be.
each listened to a total of 140 sounds, and based on
their average response, we can begin to estimate the
general public's reactions," explained Langley acoustics
engineer Alexandra Loubeau.
conducted a study at Langley comparing results from
tools used to predict sonic boom noise at ground-level.
“Because of the interaction with the atmosphere, it is
important to be as consistent as possible in the
implementation and usage of these tools. The comparisons
done so far have shown good agreement, but there are
some inconsistencies that need to be studied,” Loubeau
Other studies are focused on predicting
the sonic boom and on design approaches to reducing it.
Participants from Japan, the United States and France
attended the first Sonic Boom Prediction Workshop, where
they evaluated simple configurations -- cylindrical
bodies with and without wings -- and complex full
"We are working to understand the worldwide state of the
art in predicting sonic booms from an aircraft point of
view," said Mike Park, a fluid mechanics engineer at
Langley. "We found for simple configurations we can
analyze and predict sonic booms extremely well. For
complex configurations we still have some work to do."
Wind tunnels are another tool used to help predict which
airplane designs might have quieter booms. The most
recent tests were conducted at NASA's Ames Research
Center in Moffett Field, California, and Glenn Research
Center in Cleveland.
Similar to designs of the past, current aircraft
designs being tested are characterized by a needle-like
nose, a sleek fuselage and a delta wing or highly-swept
wings -- shapes that result in much lower booms.
and industry engineers say they believe supersonic
research has progressed to the point where the design of
a practical low-boom supersonic jet is within reach.