Huge aircraft will be virtually silent

Popular Science with a nice overview of the SAX-40,  a 215-seat concept aircraft that will be virtually inaudible outside the airport. Designers estimate that the aircraft will emit just 63 decibels at takeoff, about as loud as an average conversation.

To achieve such relative silence, researchers needed to rethink nearly every aspect of the typical airliner.

Chief among them is the airframe. The faster a plane flies, the louder it roars. So Graham and his group designed the SAX-40 with a blended-wing body, a concept that jettisons the tube-and-wing approach for a tailless, triangular structure.

That shape provides extra lift, enabling the plane to fly more slowly during takeoff and landings. It also saves a significant amount of fuel, getting some 35 percent more passenger-miles per gallon than a Boeing 777.

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