The Crystal Ball Focuses on the Next Generation of Transport Aircraft 710750
Commercial aircraft market requirements are reviewed and all-cargo, STOL, SST, and CTOL aircraft types currently being studied are discussed. It is concluded that after the derivative versions of the present generation of wide-body transports have been introduced into service, the next all new commercial transport will probably be an advanced technology CTOL. This transport must be quieter than present aircraft. An assessment is made of what technological advances are most likely to be incorporated in this aircraft. Supercritical airfoil technology represents the most promising of the several expected technological advances. It can be applied to either economically increase cruise speeds or to significantly reduce operating costs. There are, in addition, a number of interesting possibilities in structures, propulsion and systems design. The characteristics of medium range aircraft, having cruise Mach numbers of 0.85, 0.92, 0.95, and 0.98, are presented.