by Kerry Lynch
– July 14, 2020, 11:42 AM
The FAA’s notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to develop a certification pathway for supersonic aircraft has drawn a mixed bag of responses from industry, community, regulators, and environmentalists, with many offering strong support, others calling the effort premature, and still others expressing absolute opposition.
Released in April, the NPRM would for the first time establish subsonic landing and takeoff cycle noise standards for supersonic airplanes other than the Concorde. The lack of standards has been a main stumbling block to development of supersonic aircraft. Initially, the proposal would address aircraft 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 NPRM would set a threshold that would exceed Stage 4, which most aircraft currently meet, but would provide flexibility in how those standards are met, including the use of variable noise-reduction systems.
The comment period on the proposal ended July 13, with nearly 270 comments posted. Manufacturer representatives such as the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) commended the effort, particularly for …