In a Statement of Policy published today in the Federal Register, the FAA provides guidance to would-be supersonic aircraft manufacturers regarding its expectations with respect to noise. The last FAA civil supersonic aircraft policy statement issued back in 1994 set Stage 3 as the standard for new type certificate applications. In 2005 the FAA adopted Stage 4 as the standard for applications for new airplane type design filed on and after January 1, 2006. Supersonic flight over the United States by civil aircraft has been prohibited by regulation since 1973.
In light of the current interest in developing civil supersonic aircraft to replace the retired Concorde, the FAA issued the Statement of Policy to provide notice to manufacturers. According to the Statement, the FAA indicates that “[w]e anticipate that any future Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued by the FAA affecting the noise operating rules would propose that any future supersonic airplane produce no greater noise impact on a community than a subsonic airplane.” Under this policy, the subsonic noise limit of Stage 4 will apply to the development of future supersonic airplanes operating at subsonic speeds. With respect to supersonic operation, the FAA indicates that appropriate noise standards “will be developed as the unique operational flight characteristics of supersonic designs become known and the noise impacts of supersonic flight are shown to be acceptable.”
If you would like further information, you may contact Ms. Laurette Fisher, Office of Environment and Energy (AEE-100), Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20591; telephone (202) 267- 3561; facsimile (202) 267-5594; e-mail Laurette.firstname.lastname@example.org.