Thursday, July 2, 2009

Sonic Boom!

John posted the URL of a really neat news article about sonic booms. I didn't know it, but sometimes sonic booms are visible as well as audible.

You can see an even better photo of a sonic boom here. It looks to me like it's being generated by a Blackbird, but I could be wrong. I especially like like this photo, and there's a simple explanation of the physics involved.



This sonic boom is kind of wispy in spots, but I like the photo because it's of a shuttle launch.

Sonic booms bring back so many fond memories for me. 

When I was stationed at Charleston AFB, I lived in the WAF barracks, which was located at the end of the old East-West runway. They flew F-101 Voodoos out of the base, and they would take off in formation and go supersonic just off the runway as they entered the climb corridor. It was SOP to hear the "Boom-Boom" of the two planes as they'd take off, and it was a part of everyday life there.

When I lived in France, and was working at the Service Club, the Blue Angels were stationed at Evreux AFB temporarily, while they were there for the Paris Air Show. While they were there, they practiced, and, once again, we had lots of sonic booms. They gave a special air show just for the people on the base, and almost everything on base shut down for it. I was lucky enough to watch the show from the cockpit of one of the choppers stationed there. It's good to know chopper pilots!

But my favorite sonic boom memory is from an air show at Andrews AFB, where the Thunderbirds did a performance one year. They also performed at the air show where I got engaged.

They had most of them do a neat maneuver, where they flew down the flight line at LOW altitude (about 20 feet), and when they got past the crowd, one of them followed them right down the flight line at mach 1. I was lucky enough to be right down front, so the plane was less than 50 yards from me, and quite startling!

Some of my friends were standing much further back, and they could see the plane coming. They said it generated a "wave" effect in the crowd as people jumped when the boom hit them!

I never complained as much as I did while I was in the Air Force, but it was SO. MUCH. FUN!

Most people seem to be starting the weekend today (late in the day), so I'll wish you a happy weekend now!

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Addition:

Christopher Gorham says he's making coffee here. I'm not so sure.


Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

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Another Addition:

Here is a link to some great sonic boom photos!

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