Aerion AS2 YSFlight Build Log
The Aerion AS2 is a new design for a supersonic business jet. One of the interesting parts of this design is the supersonic laminar flow wing which helps reduce drag due to turbulent airflow. From a market point of view, I think this design is great and can help pave the way for reduced cost supersonic transport in the future. With lower drag, the engines do not necessarily need to be afterburning, which saves on fuel, total weight of the aircraft and therefore cost.
I have not created YSFlight model of a business jet before and while there are many in YSFlight, none are quite like this. I think this project will be a challenge on the scratch modeling side of things in order to get all the parts right. Right now I'm predicting that the landing gear, and center fuselage section will be the hardest to create, but time will tell. The engines look complicated-ish but not as much as the other features I just mentioned.
Because the AS2 is still being designed, I need to get more information than might be required for an in-service aircraft. There are no pictures, only renderings, and most are a lowish resolution which makes it harder to get information from them. Additionally the several videos that exist only show key features briefly. The Aerion website proved to be a good source of information as it had a lot of dat parameters, but also the overall dimensions of the aircraft. This is important to scale an image to real scale in Blender.
Another great source of information was this 3-view drawing of the aircraft. Since it shows the lading gear and control surfaces, it provides nearly all the information for the non-fuselage components, but the fuselage has a very complex geometry. There are a few videos on the Aerion website that show some of these shape changes, but it will take some deeper image analysis (read hitting play/pause really quickly trying to get a glimpse!) to approximate these shapes.
After some quick snooping around the Aerion website, I was able to find some DAT File parameters and some other data that will later feed into a
MAXSPEED 1.5MACH Aerion Website
WEIGHCLN 57800lb Aerion Website
REFVLAND 135kt Aerion Website
REFACRUS 50000ft Aerion Website
WINGAREA 125m^2 Aerion Website
One of the things that strikes me as I look at all the images of the AS2 is the transitions in fuselage cross-section. The nose of the aircraft looks fairly standard until you see the top view which makes it apparent that the nose looks more like a duck's beak than a pointy supersonic aircraft nose. The second thing that I see is how flat the bottom of the aircraft is. Normally aircraft like this are highly cylindrical, but when looking at a CAD render of the structural framing, it becomes apparent that the pressurized section of the aircraft ends at about halfway between the last window and the beginning of the wing. Without the structural requirements imposed by a pressurized cabin, the aircraft can take whatever shape is optimal for aerodynamics. This complicates things from a modelling perspective. The wings and tail seem to be straight-forward and relatively uncomplicated. They remind me of an F-104 Starfighter in a lot of ways. The only unusual thing is the wings take a little dip right where they meet the wing root/Leading Edge Extension (LEX). I think this is primarily for shock effects since it is placed almost directly outboard of the engine nacelle.
Setting Up Blender
The first thing I do when starting a new project is create a filename for my initial attempt. I know that there will be multiple versions of this model when I'm all said and done, principally to serve as a hard backup. Once I complete some major milestone I will perform a save as and then continue the project. For this project my initial filename is Aerion_AS2_MK1.blend.
Shutter developed a great method for importing images into blender and positioning them for easy access and scaling. I am not going to do that for this project. Instead I will use a background image.