In this centenary year of the first manned, controlled and powered flight, supersonic passenger transport flights will cease. It will then take twice as long to fly across the Atlantic as it does now as we revert to the speeds of a quarter of a century ago, although man can still fly into space.
Wing warping is to be investigated and developed by NASA for military aircraft to demonstrate that it can produce faster roll rates at transonic and supersonic speeds than conventional flight controls (Flight International, 22-28 April).
Wing warping had previously been superseded by ailerons in the first decade of powered flight. In 1910, a Wright Model B had been modified with ailerons and wing warping was obsolescent by the start of the First World War.
Aviation advances quickly but by an erratic and serpentine route. It seems likely that it will take another quarter of a century of great technological advance in propulsion and fuels before we can again buy a ticket for a 3h flight from London to New York. However, man may yet take another giant leap and be able to do it in 30 min. A hypersonic aircraft - with wing warping?
Keith Sissons Rye, UK
Source: Flight International