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December 5, 1966

Will Supersonic Airliners Create Medical Problems?

JAMA. 1966;198(10):31-34. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110230015004

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As supersonic airliners move from drawing boards to factory mock-ups toward the day when they will begin roaring down runways, interest in medical ramifications is intensifying.

Factors which are being examined include:

  • Operational safety

  • Radiation

  • Pressurization

  • Sonic booms

  • Cyclic rhythms

The first flight presently expected for any of the faster-than-sound aircraft now being developed involves the Anglo-French Concorde. A decade of work already has gone into development of the four-engine, delta-wing Concorde. The British and French hope that a protoype of the 130-passenger craft can be flown for the first time in late February 1968.

In the Soviet Union, a supersonic transport ( SST) known as the TU-144 is under development. On the basis of the few details released by the USSR, many aviation experts in other countries believe that the Concorde will be ready for initial test flights before the TU-144. But such predictions usually