3
$\begingroup$

What would happen if I exceeded mach 1 over a regulated area? Are there any penalties in place for this violation?

Would ATC actually know I’m flying supersonic or would they have to go out of their way to check my groundspeed and work out my approximate air speed?

$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I suspect that buzzing Heathrow tower at 800MPH would result in you being shot down with a missile. $\endgroup$ – Richard Dec 27 '18 at 1:46
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Since you've mentioned regulations, please tell us which country you're asking about: regulations, penalties etc. are different everywhere. $\endgroup$ – Pondlife Dec 27 '18 at 4:23
  • $\begingroup$ You may specify the regulated airspace and the jurisdiction $\endgroup$ – Manu H Dec 29 '18 at 9:26
  • $\begingroup$ Just to debunk a common misunderstanding: air traffic controllers are not police officers. We're here to help you, the pilot. Obviously if anyone (including us) break any rules - by accident or otherwise - we have to report it, but we do so for the purpose of improving safety, not for the purpose of punishing anyone. $\endgroup$ – J. Hougaard Jan 3 at 10:39
7
$\begingroup$

It would be a violation of 14 CFR 91.817

§ 91.817 Civil aircraft sonic boom. (a) No person may operate a civil aircraft in the United States at a true flight Mach number greater than 1 except in compliance with conditions and limitations in an authorization to exceed Mach 1 issued to the operator under appendix B of this part.

It would be extremely easy to track such an aircraft, and the pilot would be dealt with upon landing.

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This doesn’t actually answer the question of what would happen/what the penalty would be. $\endgroup$ – Notts90 Dec 28 '18 at 22:02
6
$\begingroup$

Depending on the place and altitudes this took place at, the FAA would certainly cite you on 91.817 and 91.13 careless and reckless operation, and may recommend disciplinary action, including suspension or revocation of airman certificates and ratings.

$\endgroup$
4
$\begingroup$

Well, they might well find out what you did, but it won't be from ATC radar that they get the first clue. ATC radar wouldn't catch it, since they see ground speed and know neither your head/tail wind component nor the exact temperature at your altitude (which determines the speed of sound). If you're flying SR-71 speeds, then yeah they'd notice, but the difference between M 0.95 and M 1.05 isn't enough that they'd see it, or care.

You'd be far more likely to be "busted" based on noise complaints from the ground, which could be followed up by checking the ATC replay to determine who was flying "there" at that time.

But if nobody from the ground complains about the boom, the chance that radar by itself would catch a slightly supersonic excursion is pretty remote.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ This isn't true if you have Mode S EHS or ADS-B, both of which downlink Mach/IAS. The former is required for larger aircraft in Western Europe, the latter is a FAA requirement by 2020. $\endgroup$ – user71659 Dec 28 '18 at 21:56
3
$\begingroup$

As an ATCO, if you turn IAS/Mach datum off from Mode S, trust in your answer to the question "report Mach number" is all I can do, as long as you aren't catching yr preceding traffic flying @ same mach # !!!! But I am still unable to guess if you are @ .90 or 1.01.

Happy new 2019

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.