John F. Kennedy photo

Memorandum on Development of a Civil Supersonic Air Transport.

January 21, 1963

Memorandum for:

The Secretary of Defense The Secretary of Commerce

The Administrator, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

The Chairman, Civil Aeronautics Board

The Administrator, Federal Aviation Agency

The Director, Office of Science and Technology

In my budget message I stated that studies on the economic and technical feasibility of a commercial supersonic transport should be expedited and the results evaluated as soon as practicable.

As you know, the Federal Aviation Agency is conducting a two-year research and development program to determine the technical and economic feasibility of a supersonic aircraft. The Congress appropriated a total of $31 million in 1962 and 1963 for this effort which I understand is progressing satisfactorily under the direction of the Federal Aviation Administrator. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Department of Defense are also doing research and development that will yield useful information on problems of supersonic flight.

It is desirable that we hold to or better the schedule laid down in 1961, and reach firm decisions as soon as practicable in 1963 on future actions concerning the development of a supersonic aircraft.

At the same time, because of the potential importance of this project, it is essential that these decisions be made only after the most thorough evaluation of all the probable benefits and costs to the Government and to the national economy.

Accordingly, I am requesting by this memorandum that the Federal Aviation Administrator take the lead in preparing as soon as practicable a report summarizing and evaluating all relevant research results and including firm recommendations for possible further action.

I shall expect the Administrator to consult with you from time to time in the preparation of this report, and I request that you extend to him whatever technical or other assistance he may require. I ask that each of you give this matter his personal attention and that your recommendations reflect your considered judgment on this important matter. Finally, I suggest that arrangements be made for the Director of the Budget and Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers to participate, as appropriate, during the course of the study.


Note: The report, entitled "Supersonic Transport" (62 pp., processed), was released by the Federal Aviation Agency on June 19, 1963.

John F. Kennedy, Memorandum on Development of a Civil Supersonic Air Transport. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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