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It seems like there might be a good research reason to allow such a flight. As it's an unusual event, making this exception would not set much of a precedent.

It could potentially be a good way for NASA to assess the performance of the X-59 - if it's ready in time.

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    $\begingroup$ Just as a side note, the totality will be moving across the surface much faster than the X-59's planned top speed. It would not be able to keep up (even if it actually were ready for supersonic flight testing 6 weeks from now, which seems unlikely,) though it could experience totality longer than viewers on the ground. $\endgroup$
    – reirab
    Feb 28 at 5:38
  • $\begingroup$ Good point! The moon's umbral shadow speed is 2286 mph. The Earth's rotation at the equator is about 1040 mph. The X-59 is expected to fly at 925 mph. $\endgroup$
    – phil1008
    Feb 28 at 7:13
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    $\begingroup$ I guess this can be a question for Eric Célérier who flew a Concorde following the 1999 solar eclipse path. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Feb 29 at 14:43
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    $\begingroup$ Interesting article. They estimated they would experience 8 minutes of totality flying in the Concorde. They were also worried about the shockwaves effects when two Concords are flying in close proximity to one another. $\endgroup$
    – phil1008
    Feb 29 at 20:02
  • $\begingroup$ There was also a scientific mission for the 1973 solar eclipse over Mauritania and Tchad, using the first Concorde prototype (no restriction existed yet). Traffic in the area was interrupted. The shadow cone was slower than in 1999, 7 min. of totality on the ground. The cone traveled about 200 km/h in excess of Mach 2, allowing 70 min. of totality in fight. More details. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Mar 7 at 12:28

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The blanket ban on supersonic flight over the US only applied to civilian aircraft. The military has the ability to design supersonic flight profiles in concert with the FAA, so the X59 idea could be doable, depending on the flight parameters.

Within the past couple of years the FAA has published this rule to allow supersonic test flights of civilian aircraft over the US. The rule is intended to allow industry a pathway from R&D to actual supersonic flight testing. If a company could show the flight as a test, and the profile was acceptable, a civil aircraft may be able to fly the mission you propose.

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  • $\begingroup$ NASA's aircraft are normally subject to civilian rules, though, aren't they? $\endgroup$
    – reirab
    Feb 28 at 5:35

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