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  • Ashley Baker

In Support of the Lee-Gardner Amendment to the FAA Reauthorization Act

Study: Airplane Speeds Have Stagnated for 40 Years

Yesterday, the Committee for Justice joined the Niskanen Center, Competitive Enterprise Institute, the R Street Institute, and TechFreedom in calling on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation to support the Lee-Gardner Amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act.

The amendment, proposed by Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Cory Gardner (R-CO), would require the FAA to develop a reasonable supersonic noise standard that would be “informed by noise levels that are tolerated in the United States for non-aviation,” to replace the ban within one year of the Act’s enactment.

The letter (which can be found in PDF form here) states:

The 1973 ban on civil supersonic flight over land traces its origins to a panic spurred by an activist movement that opposed the French and British supersonic transporter, the Concorde. While we see a legitimate public interest in reasonable limitations on aircraft noise, banning civil supersonic flight altogether is anachronistic, and has effectively created a technological speed limit over the United States. It has persisted for forty-four years due to regulatory inertia, and stifled private sector research and development into quiet and affordable supersonic travel for far too long.

Left unamended, the [FAA Reauthorization] Act would merely require the FAA to conduct a review of federal law and recent technological advancements as they pertain to the operation of supersonic aircraft over land, and report their recommendations to the relevant subcommittees within 180 days. We believe that, in light of over forty years of public research into supersonic transport by NASA, the FAA, and others, further delay is unwarranted.

"With technology and law at a regulatory crossroads, constitutionalists should advocate against regulations that push new innovations out of existence," said Ashley Baker, Director of Public Policy at the Committee for Justice.

"This regulatory freeze on new technologies is attested by the 40-year stagnation in airplane speed," Baker explained. "We encourage the Senate Commerce Committee to take a major step forward to reviving civil supersonic by adopting the Lee-Gardner Amendment to the FAA Reauthorization Act."


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