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92 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 ...
Romeo_4808N's user avatar
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65 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, ...
Peter Kämpf's user avatar
62 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 ...
Zeus's user avatar
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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 ...
Ralph J's user avatar
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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 ...
Peter Kämpf's user avatar
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
Mike Sowsun's user avatar
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47 votes
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Why were the Space Shuttle's elevons reversed, early in re-entry?

For an explanation let me first explain hypersonic flow a bit. In super- and hypersonic flow, when a body moves through a fluid what changes foremost is not speed but density. At the high angle of ...
Peter Kämpf's user avatar
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 ...
Dave's user avatar
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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 ...
Bianfable's user avatar
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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 ...
GdD's user avatar
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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 ...
aeroalias's user avatar
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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 ...
Bianfable's user avatar
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37 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 ...
gwally's user avatar
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31 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 ...
Federico's user avatar
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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 ...
aeroalias's user avatar
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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
Hobbes's user avatar
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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 ...
Romeo_4808N's user avatar
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27 votes

Heating of XB-70 vs. SR-71

While black surfaces emit heat more efficiently than lighter colours, this was not the only reason for the colour of the Blackbirds. Earlier iterations of the A-12, the predecessor of the SR-71, were ...
Jpe61's user avatar
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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 ...
Mike Sowsun's user avatar
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24 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. ...
Jae Carr's user avatar
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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 ...
John K's user avatar
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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%...
Koyovis's user avatar
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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 ...
Michael Hall's user avatar
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24 votes

Tu-144 vs Concorde: which one of the two carried passengers first?

Concorde was first by almost two years: Aircraft Maiden Flight First Commercial Flight Source Concorde 2 March 1969 21 January 1976 (London → Bahrain & Paris → Dakar → Rio de Janeiro) ...
Bianfable's user avatar
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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 ...
Daniele Procida's user avatar
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 ...
Daniel K's user avatar
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20 votes

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

The Concorde didn’t “refuse” to go supersonic over land; it was legally prohibited from doing so by every country it flew to/over. The Tu-144 produced the same sonic boom, but aside from a few ...
StephenS's user avatar
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19 votes

Why is the coefficient of drag for straight wings at supersonic speeds lower than for swept wings?

Mark is right when he says that there is no induced drag at supersonic speeds, but it is an invitation for misunderstandings. Induced drag is replaced by lift wave drag, and all what happens is that ...
Peter Kämpf's user avatar
17 votes

Why isn't tungsten used in supersonic aircraft?

While having one of the highest melting points, Tungsten is very heavy (very dense). Excess weight is detrimental in aircraft design. Some of the parts that would need to be the most heat resistant, ...
J W's user avatar
  • 16.6k
16 votes

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

The TWA Flight 841 accident in 1979 involving a Boeing 727 comes pretty close to your conditions. Not a zero-G dive but an unintended spiral dive starting at 39,000 feet, reaching mach 0.96 at 31,800 ...
MTA's user avatar
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