by Kerry Lynch – April 1, 2020, 10:11 AM
In a move that brings the reintroduction to civil supersonic flight closer to reality, the U.S. FAA is proposing new noise standards for certification of supersonic aircraft.
Announced on Monday, the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) would address a key stumbling block for bringing such aircraft to market: the lack of noise standards for civil supersonic aircraft other than the Concorde. Since regulations require aircraft to meet noise standards for certification, the absence of such standards effectively prevents new supersonic aircraft from receiving type approval. “There is renewed interest in the development of supersonic aircraft, and the proposed regulations would facilitate the continued development of airplanes by specifying the noise limits for the designs,” the agency said in the NPRM.
The proposal would establish subsonic landing and takeoff cycle standards for supersonic airplanes with a maximum takeoff weight no greater than 150,000 pounds and a maximum operating cruise speed of Mach 1.8. This category of aircraft would constitute “Supersonic Level 1,” accommodating most of the current development activity, the agency said. The FAA does envision future rulemaking of designs that advance beyond that category but said more research needs to be conducted first.
Based on studies performed by NASA, work at the International Civil Aviation Organization, and industry research, the proposal would …