Riding on waves

Published: Saturday 31 August 1996

National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Langley Research Centre and Accurate Automation of Tennessee, US are designing a 23-foot-long subsonic flyer model of a Mach 5 'waverider', a jet that rides its shockwave like a surfer riding a crest. The unmanned jet powered aircraft, being designed with the help of Lockheed Martin and Mississipi State University could fly by 1998. Wedge shaped and with a blended wing and body, the waverider presents a lot of challenges at high speeds. To meet them, the prototype will incorporate a radical solution -- a control system that can teach itself to fly.

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