by Kerry Lynch
– December 17, 2020, 12:31 PM
The Kansas Department of Transportation signed an agreement with the FAA to establish a Kansas Supersonic Transportation Corridor (SSTC) that would be used for testing aircraft up to Mach 3, the state announced today.
The agreement would provide a critical testing site for the emerging group of supersonic aircraft as civil supersonic flight remains banned over land. Flight testing for models such as Aerion’s AS2 and Boom’s Overture is expected this decade, while NASA noise trials with the Lockheed Martin X-59 demonstrator are anticipated by 2024. “This year marks 73 years since Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier, and with this supersonic flight corridor Kansas will have a unique role in the next generation of supersonic transportation,” said Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) in the announcement of the agreement.
The 770-nm corridor, designed as a bi-directional “racetrack,” runs from slightly west and south of Garden City, Kansas to nearly Pittsburg in the east at altitudes above FL390. It runs right over Wichita.
In establishing the corridor, the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) Division of Aviation worked with the FAA Central Region and air traffic control, and Lemasters Group Consulting to establish specific procedures for use of the corridor such as requirements for entry into the corridor and clearance before takeoff for direction and flight route to minimize effects of supersonic aircraft on commercial traffic.
KDOT is working with