FAA issues NPRM on SST noise-BOOM

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Congress made them do it– instruct FAA to move on SST and REDUCE NOISE

NPRM on Flight test standards draws STRONG environmental response- BOOM

Timing with strong anti noise coalition

The Competition to Bring Back Supersonic Flight Is Heating Up

‘Madness’: Dozens of Groups Push Back Against Trump Proposal to Bring Back Supersonic Planes

While Welcomed, Supersonic NPRM Draws Industry Caution

The environmental and health impacts of a new generation of supersonic aircraft could be immense

The FAA released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to facilitate special authorizations for supersonic flights primarily for flight-testing purposes. The proposal only established the parameters for testing. In fact, the purpose of the Special Flight Authorizations is to collect the data which would approve OR DENY the operation of the SSTs for certification which includes stringent environmental criteria.

BOOM- 28 environmental groups signed a joint submission to the NPRM making the following strong assertions:

On behalf of the undersigned environmental and public health organizations and our millions of members and supporters, we write to emphasize that, with existing technology, there is no way to advance “safe and efficient operation of supersonic aircraft.” Supersonic aircraft would fuel the global climate crisis and threaten Americans with lasting damages from extreme air and noise pollution as follows:

Supersonic aircraft would take aviation’s climate damages through the roof. According to supersonic start-up companies, removal of the existing ban on overland supersonic flight would prompt a revival of supersonic air travel. Because of its high costs, a rebooted supersonic aviation industry would be used by a small fraction of Americans, but would have catastrophic climate impacts for everyone. New commercial supersonic planes are expected to burn 5 to 7 times as much fuel per passenger as comparable subsonic designs and exceed international subsonic aircraft carbon dioxide (CO2) emission limits by 70%.

Supersonic aircraft emit other dangerous air pollutants Analysis shows that supersonic aircraft under development will likely exceed international nitrogen oxide (NOx) standards for subsonic aircraft by 40%. Exposure to NOx pollution is associated with respiratory disease including asthma, heart attacks, strokes, and premature death. In addition to NOx, aircraft emit other air pollutants including hydrocarbons, sulfur oxides (SOx) and particulate matter.

Supersonic flight would expose people and wildlife to harmful noise pollution. The infamous “sonic boom” isn’t just heard once when supersonic planes break the sound barrier – it is a roar that continues along the entire supersonic flight route, subjecting anyone in the flightpath to the noise. The science is clear: exposure to aircraft noise over time is associated with increased risk of high blood pressure and heart disease for adults, cognitive impairments in children and life-threatening disturbance for sensitive and endangered wildlife.

[some text and all footnotes omitted.]


NOTE: three of the signatures are local anti-aircraft noise groups–BOS Fair Skies, No Jets Santa Monica Airport and Oregon Aviation Watch[1]. They do not have direct connection to the SST, but clearly, they see the noise issue as a continuum. Their joinder of this issue may be a significant extension of this coalition. Previous posts have warned that, even though if the new SST is greener, the current noise sensitivity of well-organized segments of public are mobilized to rend asunder the NextGen program and possibly more.

Quiet Skies Caucus Proposal Will Rend Asunder Years Of FAA Noise Policy Without Thoughtful Review

“Quiet Skies Caucus” Asks For Myopic 50% Reduction In DNL Standard






The docket includes many positive comments, too.


AIA supports FAA plan to ease development path for supersonic planes

FAA Heads Toward Development of Supersonic Flight Regulations

Lockheed Martin, Aerion Corporation, the Supersonic Flight Coalition, Boom Technology, AeroTEC, among others are identified as supportive of the NPRM among the 205 comments in the docket.

Congress Says SST Is Coming; CONFUSES By Also Saying NO MORE NOISE


This policy conflict was exacerbated by Congress which in consecutive sections of the FAA Reauthorization Act instructed

 FAA to reduce noise


to advance the regulatory criteria and processes for approval of the SST (more noise)





No wonder there is controversy!!! The organ established to set policy has sent conflicting messages!!!













[1] The docket includes six comments from organizations identified as anti-noise and many more from individuals.


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