Airplane design studies have developed configuration concepts that may produce lower sonic boom annoyance levels. Since lower noise designs differ significantly from other HSCT designs, it is necessary to accurately assess their potential before HSCT final configuration decisions are made. Flight tests to demonstrate lower noise design capability by modifying an existing airframe have been proposed for the Mach 3 SR-71 reconnaissance airplane. To support the modified SR-71 proposal, baseline in-flight measurements were made of the unmodified aircraft. These measurements of SR-71 near-field sonic boom signatures were obtained by an F-16XL probe airplane at flightpath separation distances ranging from approximately 740 to 40 ft. This paper discusses the methods used to gather and analyze the flight data, and makes comparisons of these flight data with CFD results from Douglas Aircraft Corporation and NASA Langley Research Center. The CFD solutions were obtained for the near-field flow about the SR-71, and then propagated to the flight test measurement location using the program MDBOOM.
Aircraft Design, Testing and Performance
High-Speed Research: 1994 Sonic Boom Workshop. Configuration, Design, Analysis and Testing; 171-197; NASA/CP-1999-209699