Honeywell and NASA Create Sonic Boom Predictive Software

The technology could help eliminate supersonic flight restrictions.

Honeywell NASA
Honeywell and NASA have teamed up to develop predictive sonic boom software as a means of eliminating U.S. supersonic travel restrictions.Honeywell

While there's been uptick in news about supersonic aircraft this year, FAR Part 91.817 is seldom mentioned. That regulation prohibits operation of a civil aircraft over the Continental United States or at a U.S. airport when the aircraft is capable of true airspeeds greater than Mach 1, the speed of sound. The regulation also represents a significant impediment to introducing Americans to the time-saving benefits of supersonic travel.

A team of Honeywell and NASA researchers recently completed a two-year testing program to create a pilot interface that integrates predictive sonic boom software and display technology. The output is displayed in the cockpit of a business aircraft cockpit to help pilots understand where the boom their supersonic aircraft creates will pass across the ground beneath them.

NASA’s Cockpit Interactive Sonic Boom Display Avionics was matched with Honeywell’s interactive navigation technology to deliver pilots information that will allow them to alter course where needed to prevent a sonic boom from disturbing people on the ground.

The new predictive technology is expected to be useful to NASA as it creates its Low Boom Flight Demonstration experimental aircraft to gather community noise response data that might one day help negate the need for 91.817.