New Generation of Supersonic Jets to Get Boost From U.S. FAA

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. regulators say they will ease the glide path for next-generation supersonic jets.

The Federal Aviation Administration is crafting a regulation “to accommodate noise certification of new supersonic aircraft,” the agency said in a post on a White House website.

Lockheed Martin Corp. last month won a $247.5 million contract from NASA to develop a quieter supersonic aircraft. Aerion Corp., a business jet startup backed by Texas billionaire Robert Bass, and Boom Technology Inc., a Colorado startup, are among companies developing planes capable of flying above the speed of sound.

Typical airliners fly at a maximum of 80 percent the speed of sound or slightly higher. Sound travels at roughly 670 miles (1078 kilometers) an hour at cruising altitudes above 30,000 feet.

The only noise standards in U.S. regulations apply to the Concorde, the European jet that was capable of flying more than twice the speed of sound, the FAA said. The Concorde ceased operations in 2003, its economic use limited because it couldn’t fly over many land areas because of noise restrictions and a crash in 2000 near Paris.

The initiation of the FAA’s new rules was listed in the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs’ spring agenda of government planned actions. A formal proposal is expected to be ready by December.

The FAA is also developing a second new rule that will allow easier approvals for supersonic-flight testing, the agency said in a statement.

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