Most supersonic transport designs end up with a highly swept, cranked delta wing, but the Aerion Corp. of Reno, Nev., is gambling that its business jet is better off with a largely unswept wing featuring large amounts of natural laminar flow. The engineering balance is between skin friction, which is reduced by Aerion's laminar flow, and the supersonic wave drag that is increased by the design. "The core of the argument is the trade between skin friction and wave drag," says Richard R. ...

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