I remember this when it happened. The wiki description is not real clear. If I remember right he had been on a climbing line - perhaps more or less parabolic. He began to push but when the burst was fired he was nearly level or perhaps still in a slight climb. The bullets arced according to their trajectory but he pushed the nose down farther and accelerated straight ahead, overtaking the burst from below as they fell on their arc. They met up only a few seconds after being fired.
Throughout their path the bullets were slowing and responding to gravity. The plane, with the wings unweighted in the pushover probably accelerated quicker than you'd expect for a jet of that vintage.
I also believe that the F-8U
was the plane that flew formation with a 16" shell from a battleship and got film of it in flight. Anyone got a link to that?
As N328KF said that was pretty common. The first jets were flown in the 40s and were outperfomed in many ways by prop fighters. The research on supersonic flight was begun after the war with Mach 1 being reached in 1947, Mach 2 in 1953 and Mach 3 in 1956. But those were research aircraft. Fighter design lagged behind that. So a jet would be designed for current operational needs but by the time its acceptance program was finished there had been so many advances in high speed aircraft design that it entered service already somewhat obsolete.
Add the Korean War where debriefings indicated that the Soviet MiGs outperformed our jets in important ways and the fact that the war in Korea was just a hot spot in the wider "cold war" and you can see that the US defense establishment had a lot of emphasis on finding and keeping an advantage.
When the X-15 program started flying in 1959 it had the effect of defining realistic limits for airplanes intended to fly in the earth's atmosphere. By the time of its last flight in 1968 it had broken Mach 4, 5, and 6 and flown above the sensible earth's atmosphere and returned safely. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that data the X-15 collected was still being analyzed. Anyway, from shortly after that program, fighter and bomber designs all over the world more or less stablized - most of them below Mach 2. New research tended to go toward weapon and countermeasure systems which did not require whole new airframes, and later, on stealth capabilities.
It did have the effect, though, of making airshows of the 1950s really interesting. Lots of different aircraft as opposed to just a few today.
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.