Sept. 5, 2019

NBAA – acknowledging that many of its members are early adopters of new aviation technology – called a proposed rule to modernize flight test authorizations for supersonic aircraft “an important first step toward enabling the next generation of environmentally responsible supersonic aircraft,” in comments sent to the FAA.

NBAA supports the proposal’s demonstrated need for additional certification testing capability for U.S. products, and the FAA’s leadership as part of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection, in developing international standards for landing and take-off noise. In addition, it supports the perspectives in the comments submitted by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA).

Underscoring its commitment to noise standards that offer appropriate protections to communities from supersonic noise and the industry challenge to pursue quieter technology, NBAA agrees with two important principles identified by AIA and GAMA.

As aviation moves forward with this technology, “routine flights at supersonic speeds over land should be prohibited until the [FAA] establishes an acceptable noise impact standard.” Acknowledging that technology now exists that allows supersonic flight without an audible boom on the ground, NBAA “supports work being done to further understand how communities will react to such operations.”

Analyzing the data derived from these tests, the planned test by NASA’s X-59 and manufacturer test flights will support industry efforts to produce “aircraft that can operate responsibly at supersonic speeds.” To achieve this, manufacturers should incorporate the “latest technology to minimize landing and take-off noise for areas around airports.”

Aircraft manufacturers are committed to ensuring supersonic aircraft “are no louder than aircraft that operate at airports today.” Reaffirming its commitment to the ambitious carbon reduction goals in the 2009 Business Aviation’s Commitment to Climate Change, “the business aviation community recognizes our responsibility to the public to operate aircraft as quietly and efficiently as possible.”

Noting that the latest models of subsonic aircraft are 85 percent more fuel efficient and 75 percent quieter than their first-generation predecessors, NBAA expects to see similar improvements in supersonic aircraft performance over time.

“This proposal lays the groundwork for tests that will enable this future, and NBAA looks forward to continuing to work with the FAA to make this a reality.”

Read NBAA’s full comments to the FAA.