91 votes

Do jets breaking the sound barrier leave shredded metal on the ground?

I don't think this had anything to do with military jets breaking the sound barrier nearby; it does sound more like strips of metal recovered from chaff dispensers on the jets; countermeasures systems ...
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66 votes
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Is it dangerous for a supersonic aircraft to fly at exactly Mach 1?

Make sure to read this answer to understand what is special about Mach 1. Pilots regularly report that, approaching Mach 1, the airplane is shaken by oscillating shocks (they don't use that term, ...
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59 votes
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Can you feel passing through the sound barrier in an F-16?

In an aircraft designed to go supersonic, it's an absolute non-event, and one is only aware of it by observing the instruments, and noting diminished control authority-- slower roll rate, etc. At ...
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  • 42.1k
59 votes

Why was there no issue with the Tu-144 flying above land?

The actual 'legal' reasons have already been mentioned. However, there was a bit more to it. Tu-144 was meant to fly over land from the beginning; there was no way around it, unlike Concorde. So it ...
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  • 8,680
49 votes
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How can the landing gear fit in the small room in the engine bay on the Tupolev Tu-144?

The Tu-144 uses much smaller wheels than comparably-sized subsonic aircraft. This makes it possible to rotate the gear bogie sideways towards the middle of the aircraft, so it can be stowed vertically ...
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48 votes

How can the landing gear fit in the small room in the engine bay on the Tupolev Tu-144?

The Tu-144 landing gear rotates 90 degrees when retracted up between the engines. Source: Tu-144 Landing Gear Retraction Source: Tu-144 Landing Gear Retraction
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  • 32.4k
44 votes

Could an airliner exceed Mach 1 in a zero-G power dive and safely recover?

There is actually some data (albeit limited) on this scenario: On August 21st 1961 this test was performed in a DC-8. When this test was performed they were supersonic for about 16 seconds which took ...
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  • 96.3k
43 votes

Will you be able to hear a supersonic aircraft flying away from you?

Yes, actually you can only hear a supersonic aircraft after it has passed over you and is now flying away from you since it is moving faster than the sound moving towards you. The sound waves will ...
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  • 45.9k
38 votes

Do jets breaking the sound barrier leave shredded metal on the ground?

That's definitely not true, metal shredding off an airplane is the sign of a structural failure, and is a serious problem. It certainly doesn't happen often. It's unlikely that they would be going ...
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  • 50.3k
38 votes
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Was the Boeing 747 designed to be supersonic?

No. The Boeing 747 was not designed for supersonic flight, though during testing, it was pushed quite close to the sonic speed: Tom Cole, a spokesman at Boeing Commercial Airplane Co., said original ...
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  • 98.7k
37 votes

Can a jet stream make a subsonic plane fly at a supersonic speed relative to the ground?

Yes, the ground speed of a subsonic aircraft could be larger than the speed of sound. As an example, during the record time for a subsonic Atlantic crossing a Boeing 747 reached speeds of up to 1327 ...
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  • 45.9k
34 votes
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Why was there no issue with the Tu-144 flying above land?

The Tupolev Tu-144 was just as loud as the Concorde. As it was already pointed out, the Concorde was legally prevented from going supersonic over land by the US, UK, but it was more than capable of ...
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  • 2,324
33 votes

Would a perfectly silent supersonic aircraft create a sonic boom?

Sonic booms aren't created by the aircraft's engine noise. They're created by the aircraft moving through the air. The aircraft has a non-zero volume (an aircraft with zero volume is like the emperor'...
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  • 22.3k
31 votes

Why isn't tungsten used in supersonic aircraft?

While tungsten does have a high melting point (I'm not sure what's the relevance of boiling point here), it has little else to offer for aircraft construction. The main issue of course is weight. One ...
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  • 98.7k
30 votes
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Why aren't the canards used as airbrakes on the Tupolev Tu-144?

A number of things happen when you rotate the canards by 90°, and in no way I see how these could be addressed by not too many modifications 1. Transient Once you land, you need a certain amount ...
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  • 31.6k
29 votes

Is an afterburner louder than the same jet engine without it?

This PDF indicates an increase by ~10 dB for an F-8K in afterburner versus the same aircraft in 100% dry thrust. This PDF indicates smaller increases: +5 dB for an F-15 +4 dB for F-22 and F-35
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  • 10.1k
28 votes
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Why are there no commercial supersonic flights at present?

There a several reasons for the demise of commercial supersonic aircraft. And there is a strong possibility we may be able to take a ride on a supersonic aircraft by 2021. Supersonic commercial ...
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27 votes
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What are the merits of an inlet cone/spike/centerbody vs. a 2D inlet?

Both are ways to create compression shocks in order to compress and decelerate supersonic air. Spike intakes The central spike is characterized by: undisturbed flow, light weight and compactness, and ...
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27 votes
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Could Concorde have used swing wings?

Actually, the Boeing design for the SST (Super Sonic Transport), the Boeing 2707 had a swing wing (swing wing was the hot thing during that time). It is instructive to look at what happened to that ...
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  • 98.7k
25 votes
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Could anyone (non-military) in the present day "exceed mach 1 over a regulated area"?

Yes, In the U.S.A there are many privately owned ex-military jet fighters that are capable of exceeding Mach 1. It is quite conceivable that a privately owned fighter jet has exceeded Mach 1 but not ...
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  • 32.4k
24 votes
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Can a sonic boom produced at 60,000' be heard on the ground?

Yes, a sonic boom produced at 60,000' can be heard on the ground. First of all, a sonic boom consist in a steep increase of air pressure, followed by a slow, linear decrease below the nominal ambient ...
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  • 7,157
24 votes

Can you feel passing through the sound barrier in an F-16?

You can watch for yourself 4 minutes in on this video. Can't tell at all, so much so that they have to let people know with a big sign. Once the issues of buffeting during the transition were fixed ...
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  • 107k
24 votes
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Was the Boeing 2707 design flawed?

The three competing supersonic designs are discussed in this video – The Forgotten American Concordes. Two competing designs from the USA were proposed to the US government, which was going to fund 75%...
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  • 58.8k
24 votes

Is an afterburner louder than the same jet engine without it?

It has been around 20 years since I've been on a carrier deck, but I recall that it wasn't as dramatic of an increase as you might think. It may have gotten a little bit louder, but what I remember ...
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  • 16.4k
23 votes

Does a Mach 1 plane hear a sonic boom from a Mach 3 plane overtaking him?

To answer the question: Yes, and even more, both would be able to notice the sonic boom of the other aircraft. Why To understand why, you have to understand how sonic booms are created. Sound is ...
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  • 7,157
23 votes
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Is there a boomless sonic technology in any state at this time?

Shock wave is a physical phenomenon and as such is unavoidable. The best we can do is to reduce their intensity and reduce their effects on ground. A method to eliminate the shock wave (theoretically)...
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  • 98.7k
23 votes

Do jets breaking the sound barrier leave shredded metal on the ground?

Here is a video that shows several aircraft breaking the speed of sound, including several still images of it. You'll notice that none of the images show the skin of the aircraft being affected. ...
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  • 23.6k
22 votes
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Did the XF-84H Thunderscreech really cause "900 sonic booms per minute"?

I think it is a matter of where you stand (literally). From the front or the rear the shock waves from the propeller tips would hit your ears continuously, and the result would be constant noise. ...
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22 votes

Why are there no commercial supersonic flights at present?

There are numerous reasons. They are not all economic ones by the way, even if most of them are. First, you must build your supersonic airliner Neither of the two supersonic airliners that once flew ...
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21 votes

What makes an engine suitable for supersonic flight?

Yes. This is more or less exactly what had been planned for the (now defunct) Aerion supersonic business jet. The engine was to be developed by GE, with the core of a CFM56, the fan replaced with a ...
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