What happens if the wing of a supersonic plane goes into the shock wave from the nose?

A plane have this shock wave at the nose going back at an angle, but it also have shock waves going back (in the same angle) from the intake or the joint between the wing and the body, shocks that do go over the wing.

Since the wing can live with that, why is it then a problem if they go into the shock wave from the nose (which I have always learned)?

In case anyone want to know, then the question arose when an friend and me discussed chock-cone angles, and the the X-29 seem to have an angle between nose and wing-tip that relates to the angle a schock will have at M1.8, the plane´s top speed.

-And the same seems to be the case with many other fast planes.

-By the way, I chose thát image as the angle of the schock is higher than the angle of the leading edge of an F-18.

I haven't been able to find a better image than this, I believe it is an F-18 with pretty straight wings:

enter image description here

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ When you say "chock-cone" do you mean "shock cone"? $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Feb 23, 2017 at 20:07
  • $\begingroup$ Exactly, english is not my own language, I were just editing it but someone was faster than me.... $\endgroup$
    – Easer
    Feb 23, 2017 at 20:23
  • $\begingroup$ Someone edited "Live with that" to "survive with that", I edited it back as "survive with that" may be a little too much.... $\endgroup$
    – Easer
    Feb 23, 2017 at 20:30
  • $\begingroup$ The plane in the image is a Northrop T-38 travelling at approx Mach 1.1. There is a shock wave coming off the nose, so I'm a little confused on the question? Shock waves will reflect off of any surface incident to the air stream, you can't really choose to have a shock wave at the wings but not at the nose... $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Feb 23, 2017 at 20:43
  • $\begingroup$ By definition supercritical airfoils have a normal shockwave on them. You can see one here. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Feb 23, 2017 at 21:43

1 Answer 1


Not much.

The outer wing would fly in undisturbed flow and an inboard wedge would fly inside of the Mach cone of the nose. This is similar to a wing with a supersonic leading edge; something that has been quite common with Mach 2+ designs before swing-wing aircraft. The nose shock of a pointed nose is a weak, oblique shock which does not alter flow parameters dramatically,

  • $\begingroup$ -Thanks a lot....!!! $\endgroup$
    – Easer
    Feb 26, 2017 at 3:38

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