NASA acoustic tests claim 70 percent reduction in airframe noise

WASHINGTON. NASA reports that it has conducted a series of flight tests that successfully demonstrate technologies that achieve a significant reduction in the noise generated by aircraft and heard by communities near airports.

NASA -- which conducted what it calls Acoustic Research Measurement (ARM) flights during May 2018 at its Armstrong Flight Research Center in California -- tested technology to address airframe noise, or noise that is produced by nonpropulsive parts of the aircraft, during landing. The agency says that the flights successfully combined several technologies to achieve a greater than 70 percent reduction in airframe noise.

“The number one public complaint the Federal Aviation Administration receives is about aircraft noise,” said Mehdi Khorrami, an aerospace scientist at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia, and principal investigator for Acoustic Research Measurement. “NASA’s goal here was to reduce aircraft noise substantially in order to improve the quality of life for communities near airports. We are very confident that with the tested technologies we can substantially reduce total aircraft noise, and that could really make a lot of flights much quieter.”

NASA tested several experimental designs on various airframe components of a Gulfstream III research aircraft at Armstrong, including new types of landing-gear fairings and cavity treatments designed and developed at Langley, as well as the Adaptive Compliant Trailing Edge (ACTE) wing flap, which had previously been flight-tested to study efficiency.

Agency heads say that the aviation industry must significantly reduce aircraft noise in order for air transportation growth to maintain its current trend; they add that reducing airframe noise using NASA technology is an important part of this effort, as it may lead to quieter aircraft, which will benefit communities near airports and enable expanded airport operations.

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