Psychological assessment of noise annoyance due to low sonic boom
Legal bans prohibit over land supersonic flights for any commercial aircraft. Those restrictions, aimed at decreasing noise annoyance on residents living along the flight path, have made supersonic commercial air traffic unprofitable, which resulted in the abandonment of the last supersonic passenger aircrafts in 2003. In recent years however, aviation industry has started to redesign supersonic aircrafts aiming at producing considerable less adverse noise impacts than former supersonic flights. The new way of surpassing the Mach 1 border has since become known as “low sonic boom” or “sonic thump”. For several years, simulation and laboratory studies have been carried out to estimate human responses to low sonic boom. In Galveston, Texas, NASA conducted a community response study to quiet supersonic boom produced by special supersonic F18 flight manoeuvres (diving) over sea. However, so far no field study exists that has tested the impact of low supersonic flights en route on the population underneath. The EU Horizon 2020 project RUMBLE (RegUlation and norM for low sonic Boom LEvels) aims at producing scientific evidence to determine the acceptable level of overland sonic booms and the appropriate ways to comply with it. For this, as part of the RUMBLE project experimental indoor and outdoor studies on human responses to sonic boom are carried out. The results of these studies together with an extensive review of existing scientific evidence on methodologies of noise impact research and results on human responses to subsonic and supersonic aircraft noise are collected to derive recommendations for a field study on human responses to supersonic flights en route. In this contribution, first ideas for a design of such a field study with regard to the noise effect assessment are discussed.