Quieter supersonic flight: NASA X-59 chief pilot's insights

Lead pilot David Nils Larson talks to Mark Broadbent about NASA’s latest X-plane, the X-59 Quesst

David Nils Larson is NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center’s senior advisor for aero flight research and lead pilot for the X-59 Quiet Supersonic Technology (Quesst) aircraft.

Larson has flown more than 100 different aircraft types and he hails from West Virginia, the same state as Chuck Yeager, who broke the sound barrier in October 1947 in the Bell X-1.

Quesst is researching technology that will reduce the loudness of a sonic boom to a gentle ‘thump’ and eventually aims to fly the aircraft over US urban communities to gather data on human responses to the sound it generates.

The X-59 ‘should handle like a fast business jet’, Larson says
The X-59 ‘should handle like a fast business jet’, Larson says NASA

Q Where are you with starting flight testing of the X-59?

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