Supersonic Jets | The sheer power of supersonic jets is so extreme that they pass all sound barriers and literally leave you breathless and prove the extraordinary leap man has made with technology.
What is supersonic flight?
Supersonic flight is one of the four speeds of flight. They are called the regimes of flight. The regimes of flight are subsonic, transonic, supersonic and hypersonic.
Vehicles that fly at supersonic speeds are flying faster than the speed of sound. The speed of sound is about 768 miles per hour (1,236 kilometers per hour) at sea level. These speeds are referred to by Mach numbers. The Mach number is the ratio of the speed of the aircraft to the speed of sound. Flight that is faster than Mach 1 is supersonic. Supersonic includes speeds up to five times faster than the speed of sound, or Mach 5.
In 1947, Air Force Capt. Charles E. “Chuck” Yeager became the first person to fly an aircraft faster than the speed of sound.
What Flies at Supersonic Speeds?
A bullet fired from a gun is an example of an object that flies at supersonic speeds. Military fighter aircraft also fly this fast. The space shuttle orbiter flies at supersonic speeds during portions of its mission.
An airplane called the Concorde was the most notable passenger airplane to travel at supersonic speeds. The Concorde’s maximum speed was more than twice the speed of sound. It could fly people from London to New York in less than 3 1/2 hours. That is about half the amount of time it would take typical airliners to fly the same distance. The Concorde is no longer in use. It flew for the last time in 2003.
What Is a Sonic Boom?
A sonic boom is a loud, thunder-like noise heard by a person on the ground when an aircraft flies overhead at supersonic speeds. Air reacts like a fluid to supersonic objects. As objects travel through the air, the air molecules are pushed aside with great force. This force forms a shock wave, much like the wave created by the front, or bow, of a boat moving in water.
The shock wave forms a cone of pressurized air. A sharp release of pressure after the buildup of a shock wave is heard as a sonic boom. It is similar to the sharp release of pressure when a pin pops a balloon and makes a loud noise.
NASA is studying and testing devices that could be used on aircraft to lessen the noise and window-rattling effects of supersonic flight.
Read more about this at the NASA Website (new window/tab)
Credits: N. A. S. A
Low flying supersonic jets
Ejecting at supersonic speeds
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