mozart
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Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2003 12:21 am

Supersonic flights still banned over land, everywhere ?

Sun Jan 29, 2017 10:30 am

I know that during the Concorde days one of the handicaps was that the plane was not allowed to go supersonic "over land" - but how general was that rule?

Was it only in place for more or less densely populated areas? Or over landmass in general? And how far off the coast would planes need to be to be allowed to go supersonic ?

I looked at some old Concorde routings and noticed how the Air France flight meandered around the South Coast of England and then South-Western Ireland before going on a more or less great circle route. And I also noticed how the London-Toronto flights - not scheduled, but there were some - flew supersonic over Canadian landmass, but what is probably very sparsely populated Northern Québec and Ontario.

Anyone knows more? Which parts of the globe are off-limits for supersonic operations?
 
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XAM2175
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Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2014 2:25 pm

Re: Supersonic flights still banned over land, everywhere ?

Sun Jan 29, 2017 11:49 am

Each country sets their own rules for supersonic overflight of their territory, so it's not possible to give hard-and-fast yes/no answers for Concorde in general.

Canada, to use your London-Toronto example, did permit it over certain remote areas, but most countries did not. The LHR-BAH-SIN service that was attempted jointly by BA and SQ fell victim to refusals by the Indian government to permit supersonic overflight of any Indian territory (unless more LHR slots and fifth-freedom rights were awarded to AI), and then the withdrawal of rights for supersonic overflight of Saudi Arabia and the Malaysian-controlled Straits of Malacca due to complaints from local populations.

Apparently pre-revolution Iran did expressly permit supersonic overflight, but it's suggested this was a concession made to improve IranAir's bargaining position for their own Concorde purchase.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Supersonic flights still banned over land, everywhere ?

Sun Jan 29, 2017 11:55 am

I know the Tu-144 was allowed to fly supersonic over Siberia, which is also very parsely populated. But Russians never made such a big deal of aircraft noise, certainly not in those days.
 
Gemuser
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Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2003 12:07 pm

Re: Supersonic flights still banned over land, everywhere ?

Sun Jan 29, 2017 11:58 am

Australia had/has an approved commercial supersonic flight corridor from our north west coast around the Kimberleys to the south coast just west of ADL and then down the SA/Vic coast to where an aircraft would go subsonic for approach to MEL. Pretty much uninhabited desert.

Gemuser
 
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FabDiva
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Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2016 6:42 pm

Re: Supersonic flights still banned over land, everywhere ?

Sun Jan 29, 2017 12:51 pm

I don't think it was that far off shore - maybe 50-60miles. Growing up on the coast of South Devon we'd hear a sonic boom each evening as the Air France Concordes accelerated over the English channel. Obviously it would have dissipated a bit but it was still enough to rattle the windows.

The BA flights accelerated over the Bristol channel, though I'm guessing they didn't go supersonic until the channel widened out west of Devon/Pembrokeshire.
 
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longhauler
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Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2004 12:00 am

Re: Supersonic flights still banned over land, everywhere ?

Sun Jan 29, 2017 1:19 pm

mozart wrote:
And I also noticed how the London-Toronto flights - not scheduled, but there were some - flew supersonic over Canadian landmass, but what is probably very sparsely populated Northern Québec and Ontario.

Those flights LHR-YYZ-LHR were performed only a few times a year. They were to sell revenue seats on positioning flights for the CNE Airshow in Toronto in early September every year. The corridor was set up by notam, and as you note, it is in sparesly settled area.

I flew on one, YYZ-LHR and flying time was 4:05 ... or only about 2 hours faster than the 747 of the day! The first 50 minutes of the flight were at subsonic speeds. While the corridor likely could have been approved on a more regular basis, the speed restrictions even with it's existance still did not give enough of a time advantage to make the flight commercially viable.
Just because I stopped arguing, doesn't mean I think you are right. It just means I gave up!
 
workhorse
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Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2005 11:35 pm

Re: Supersonic flights still banned over land, everywhere ?

Sun Jan 29, 2017 1:50 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:
I know the Tu-144 was allowed to fly supersonic over Siberia, which is also very parsely populated. But Russians never made such a big deal of aircraft noise, certainly not in Those days.


I still remember very clearly the moment (in the beginning of the 80's) when three MIG-23s in formation made a low supersonic pass over my grandparents' house in rural Belorussia. Windows had almost broken!..
 
vv701
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Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2005 10:54 am

Re: Supersonic flights still banned over land, everywhere ?

Sun Jan 29, 2017 5:19 pm

On 5 November 2003 BA Concorde G-BOAG was given special permission to fly JFK-BFI at supersonic speeds over northern Canada. This was its last flight to the Museum of Flight, Seattle. It was timed at a new point-to point record of 3 hours, 55 minutes and 12 seconds. But that flight was the exception to the rule

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