Why does the FAA ban Supersonic Flights over land?

Hey Guys,
So I have been reading some articles about supersonic flight technology and I noticed a trend on how the FAA has banned supersonic flights over land (particularly the US). Why has it put this ban in place? I have read many articles and even the FAA’s policy, but haven’t come across the ‘why?’

Does anyone have any insight on this?

The only reason I can even think is maybe foreign missile/aircraft detection, but I just don’t know.



The resulting sonic boom can potentially cause property damage if severe enough.


People don’t want to hear a random boom in the middle of the night and think it’s an explosion. I’m sure that’ll upset many folks…


For Noise abatement, currently, though there’s an attempt to loosen the restrictions.


The ban was a result of a multitude of complaints that arose in the 60’s. People were reporting broken windows and property damage. Would be interesting to see if and when it’s ever lifted considering Boom Technologies is working on a commercial supersonic aircraft as we speak.


I live 20 miles from KACY and everytime the local Squadron breaks the sound barrier people go haywire calling 911, the media and so on saying there was a bomb or an earthquake. It happens at least once a year in the Philadelphia/Atlantic City Region that I’m in.



Is there not an altitude (high enough) you can hit when going Supersonic that this doesn’t have as much of an impact (noise or physical effects to property)?


The affects of this usually get reported on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean at least in my area. Unknown what altitude and what Mach was utilized.


It would depend on numerous factors. Temperature, humidity, pressure, altitude, etc. but as altitude increases, the effect on the surface of the earth would be less noticeable. As for the specific altitude, not sure. But I did find and interesting article from NASA on sonic booms that may be worth checking out. Might answer a few more of your questions.


Thanks, I’ll check it out. I’m also reading this one:

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Sonic booms are certainly an interesting phenomenon. I was always fascinated by them.


The progression is toward the development of aircraft with technologies which lessen the environmental impact (as in the area around them, not GreenPeace) of the boom. The FAA has been soliciting information and solutions for close to a decade in this regard.



Wasn’t there a Concorde procedure where they couldn’t go to a certain speed until they were over the ocean?


How interesting: "Altitude Effect

Altitude determines the distance shock waves travel before reaching the ground, and this has a significant effect on intensity. As the shock cone gets wider, and it moves outward and downward, its strength is reduced. Generally, the higher the aircraft, the greater the distance the shock wave must travel, reducing the intensity of the sonic boom."

This seems like a likely enough speculation to test and make a limit of "Supersonic speeds at or above 60,000’ is acceptable above land. Some relevant altitude/speed variation to allow for flying over land.

I was reading about this, which is what got me interested in this regulations. The Boom Techonology. Fascinating.

Yes, it was banned since 74 for the boom to occur over land.

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This is somewhat relevant on the topic of supersonic flight. Few years ago I was at Henriksen Jet Center in Austin, TX and they had this gorgeous piece of machinery. It was a surprise to say the least to be up close to one of these but I figured I’d share this.



Hey everyone! I have a simple question, but I don’t really know much about it.

Why are sonic booms created (by breaking the speed of sound, but why the boom?) and why do they make the weird cloud shaped cone thing? Is it a coincidence that this weird cloud shaped cone happens to form near the speed of sound or are they related?

Perhaps teach someone something!



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A Sonic Boom is created by the shock waves of an object going faster than the speed of sound.

Pretty fascinating if you ask me.


I like to compare it to water

If you throw a rock into water, you get small waves all around it as a result. Those waves are your regular sound, where the waves are able to move faster than what is creating them.

If you drive a speedboat, you get wakes. This is from the boat moving faster than the water can move in front of it, resulting in it being forced out of the way in one large wave. This large wave is your sonic boom in sound, caused by the object moving faster than the sound it makes can.