as739x
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Sonic Boom Question

Tue Oct 11, 2011 5:56 pm

So this past Sunday my wife and I met some friends on the Hornblower at SF Fleetweek. After the UA 747 finished it's show we knew the F-15 was coming. And moments later there he was hitting the deck on a high speed pass and it formed the beautiful cone. But as he started a right bank, literally 200 feet from us the cone got smaller and as it past when the sound got to us there was an incredible "Clap" as it went past. Now on deck I heard one Clap, but those below said they heard a double Clap. If this was not a sonic boom, what is the Clapping sound?

Also, is a sonic boom different at low altitude over the water vs. at higher altitudes?


Thanks...
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HaveBlue
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RE: Sonic Boom Question

Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:38 pm

Its like someone asking if their elbow is broken... if it was broken, you wouldn't have to ask.   If you heard a sonic boom, there would be no question as to what you heard.. its that loud. That being said, a fighter on the deck doing close to the speed of sound, when he gets right near you the sound hasn't reached you yet so you finally hear it all at once and it is loud.. it doesn't have the gradually increasing intensity of a fighter approaching at a more moderate speed. I've heard this many many times during sneak passes and one F-14 guy who pushed it a little too close and lost his wings for it, but that's another story.

The shape, size and duration of the 'cone' of condensation varies widely. It is dependent largely on humidity and there can be little to no cone or very large and well defined ones.. and as the fighter moves thru varying pockets of air that cloud often appears and disappears flickering on and off at varying levels depending on the local air. Luckily in Florida where I live and being on the coast most of the airshows provide nice cones.

Hope that helps.
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bikerthai
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RE: Sonic Boom Question

Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:38 pm

Understanding that a plane going near M1 can have a shock wave over the wing. Can a by-stander hear anything with respect to that shock over the wing?

bikerthai
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Semaex
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RE: Sonic Boom Question

Fri Oct 14, 2011 8:16 pm

Completely by accident I just found this article, which may explain what you heard or for that matter did not hear:

http://www.space.com/2992-shushing-s...nging-shape-supersonic-planes.html

I haven't read through it all, but a key sentence is this one:
"Researchers drastically reduced the sonic booms produced a U.S. Navy jet by giving it a nose job."


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KDTWflyer
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RE: Sonic Boom Question

Thu Oct 27, 2011 12:58 am

Listen to some of the sonic booms in this video...

http://youtu.be/4Z4zuOb2JWM

Those are the sonic booms from an SR-71 Blackbird. The clap or double-clap sound is dependent largely upon how long the aircraft is as far as I know. This is because one shock wave forms at the leading edge of the aircraft and another forms at the trailing edge.
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sovietjet
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RE: Sonic Boom Question

Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:40 am

Even IF an aircraft broke the sound barrier at an airshow, you will not hear two distinct booms (or a "double boom" as it is often called). You have to be much farther away from the aircraft for that to happen. This is why all "double boom" videos on youtube feature aircraft flying very high.
 
connies4ever
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RE: Sonic Boom Question

Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:49 am

Quoting KDTWflyer (Reply 4):
Those are the sonic booms from an SR-71 Blackbird. The clap or double-clap sound is dependent largely upon how long the aircraft is as far as I know. This is because one shock wave forms at the leading edge of the aircraft and another forms at the trailing edge.

That is100% correct. For a point moving at M=1 (if you could arrange that) you'd only get a single shock. But for something extended in space there's a forebody shock and an afterbody shock. There is a sort of grey area for something relatively short -- if you could ever nudge a Folland Gnat past M=1 I'd bet there would only be one discernible shock as the two waves would likely merge. Shape also plays into the number of shock waves heard.
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Spacepope
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RE: Sonic Boom Question

Thu Oct 27, 2011 12:57 pm

The F-15s I hear in Montana can be several miles away when going supersonic, and you just get one sharp "crack". Farther away you get a duller "thud" and the individual booms tend to blend together.
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flipdewaf
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RE: Sonic Boom Question

Mon Oct 31, 2011 3:57 pm

Quoting KDTWflyer (Reply 4):
Those are the sonic booms from an SR-71 Blackbird. The clap or double-clap sound is dependent largely upon how long the aircraft is as far as I know. This is because one shock wave forms at the leading edge of the aircraft and another forms at the trailing edge.

I was under the impression that the boom only occured when the component of the aircrafts velocity toward the listener was greater than mach 1. If the realtive velocity goes over M1 then the boom will occur on the way up through M1 and once on the way back down through M1.

If the aircraft was 30,000 feet above you and went supersonic for just one mile before you and one mile after nthen you wouldn't hear a boom at all as the component of velocity towards you would be very low.

Fred
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HaveBlue
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RE: Sonic Boom Question

Wed Nov 02, 2011 12:24 am

Quoting flipdewaf (Reply 8):
If the realtive velocity goes over M1 then the boom will occur on the way up through M1 and once on the way back down through M1

I may be reading your statement wrong, but I'm fairly certain the aircraft creates a sonic boom the entire time that is supersonic.. not just as it goes thru Mach 1 and then again as it decelerates back thru it. As long as the aircraft is supersonic its creating the overpressure and thus the audible sonic boom (whether the observer is near enough to hear it is another matter).
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474218
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RE: Sonic Boom Question

Wed Nov 02, 2011 12:35 am

Quoting flipdewaf (Reply 8):
I was under the impression that the boom only occured when the component of the aircrafts velocity toward the listener was greater than mach 1.
Quoting HaveBlue (Reply 9):
I may be reading your statement wrong, but I'm fairly certain the aircraft creates a sonic boom the entire time that is supersonic.

Have blue is correct.
 
rolfen
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RE: Sonic Boom Question

Wed Nov 02, 2011 4:11 pm

When approaching the speed of sound, a wave of pressure builds up in front of the aircraft. Maybe this sound was this wave hitting the deck as the aircraft passed by.
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flipdewaf
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RE: Sonic Boom Question

Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:25 am

Quoting HaveBlue (Reply 9):
Quoting flipdewaf (Reply 8):
If the realtive velocity goes over M1 then the boom will occur on the way up through M1 and once on the way back down through M1

I may be reading your statement wrong, but I'm fairly certain the aircraft creates a sonic boom the entire time that is supersonic.. not just as it goes thru Mach 1 and then again as it decelerates back thru it. As long as the aircraft is supersonic its creating the overpressure and thus the audible sonic boom (whether the observer is near enough to hear it is another matter).

It is always creating the sonic boom but only relative to the point at which the aircraft is moving towards at Mach 1. An aircraft directly above you flying level will have a relative velocity of 0, if an aircraft flies in an arc around you then you shouldn't hear the boom.

Fred

Edit:sorry, thinking of rotating sonic effects.

Fred

[Edited 2011-11-04 03:35:24]
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prebennorholm
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RE: Sonic Boom Question

Sat Nov 05, 2011 4:15 am

Quoting flipdewaf (Reply 12):
It is always creating the sonic boom but only relative to the point at which the aircraft is moving towards at Mach 1. An aircraft directly above you flying level will have a relative velocity of 0, if an aircraft flies in an arc around you then you shouldn't hear the boom.

Wrong.

An aircraft flying at supersonic speed creates a sonic boom all the time - that part is correct. That boom spreads in the shape of a cone with the plane at the tip of the cone. And it spreads at sonic speed relative to the atmosphere.

If it flies in a perfect circle around you in totally calm weather (no wind at all), then you will hear a constant boom. (That phenomenon will be very hard to produce in practise).

If you fly in a plane at Mach 0.9, and you are overtaken by a plane flying at Mach 1.1, then you will certainly hear the boom, even if the relative speed between you and the supersonic plane is only Mach 0.2. But the pitch of the sound will be very much changed, just like the pitch of the sound of a car changes when passing you a high speed, only much more changed.

In popular words, any object moving through the atmosphere sends a warning to the air ahead telling "I am coming, please make preparations to get out of the way". That warning moves at sonic speed. A supersonic plane overtakes that warning. The lack of warning totally changes the pressure gradients around aerodynamic shapes. In very much layman's terms, the air is moved by the wing leading edge hitting it like a hammer, instead of by pressure changes escalating ahead of the plane at subsonic speed.
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chrisco1204
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RE: Sonic Boom Question

Fri Dec 09, 2011 2:49 pm

Quoting as739x (Thread starter):
Also, is a sonic boom different at low altitude over the water vs. at higher altitudes?

A sonic boom might sound slightly different over different surfaces like water, dirt, rock, etc. simply due to how it might echo, and interact with those surfaces.

Concerning altitude, the speed of sound is affected by temperature, so if you go higher in altitude (and the temperature subsequently drops) the local speed of sound will decrease. As such, the speed that the aircraft must travel to break the sound barrier will be relatively lower.

I hope that helps.
 
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RE: Sonic Boom Question

Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:50 pm

Possible explanation for the 'double clap' below deck, and 'single clap' above; sound travels faster through water than air, because the airplane was flying 'on the deck', it was probably creating an audible 'boom' under the water's surface as well as above, the passengers below deck therefore heard this 'water boom' as well as the 'air boom', or possibly the internal acoustics of the boat caused the 'air boom' to echo.
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spudh
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RE: Sonic Boom Question

Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:49 pm

Quoting KDTWflyer (Reply 4):
The clap or double-clap sound is dependent largely upon how long the aircraft is as far as I know. This is because one shock wave forms at the leading edge of the aircraft and another forms at the trailing edge.

As far as I know this is the explanation for a double clap although I thought that there was one caused by the nose and the second was caused by the leading edge of the wing. Fighters are too short to produce a discernable double clap but Concorde, B1 and SR71 should all produce a double with Concordes being the easiest to make out.

I don't actaully remember it myself but I have friends who sail a lot off the west coast of Ireland and they all reckoned you could set your watch from the Concorde double boom back in the early glory days of supersonic passenger flight.
 
HaveBlue
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RE: Sonic Boom Question

Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:08 am

Quoting spudh (Reply 16):
Fighters are too short to produce a discernable double clap but Concorde, B1 and SR71 should all produce a double with Concordes being the easiest to make out.

You are correct, but you left out the one double boom generating 'plane' that thousands of people are familiar with... the Space Shutttle! Living in the Daytona Beach area since I was kid to presently we heard many a double booms as the Shuttle made its way back to Kennedy.  

The XB-70 should have made a good one too....
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vikkyvik
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RE: Sonic Boom Question

Wed Dec 14, 2011 5:48 am

Correct me if I'm wrong, as it's been awhile since I learned this stuff:

Quoting bikerthai (Reply 2):
Understanding that a plane going near M1 can have a shock wave over the wing. Can a by-stander hear anything with respect to that shock over the wing?

If you happen to be standing in the path of that shockwave, then yes.

But the shockwave is only in the area of supersonic flow. For a subsonic aircraft traveling just under Mach 1, the shockwave won't propogate to infinity - it'll end where the supersonic flow ends, as you move away from the aircraft.

Quoting prebennorholm (Reply 13):
If it flies in a perfect circle around you in totally calm weather (no wind at all), then you will hear a constant boom. (That phenomenon will be very hard to produce in practise).

Wouldn't you actually never hear the boom from an aircraft flying in a circle around you? The aircraft's path is at all times perpendicular to the vector between you and it (the radius of the circle), but the boom is angled backwards, so wouldn't it never actually hit you?

Quoting spudh (Reply 16):

As far as I know this is the explanation for a double clap although I thought that there was one caused by the nose and the second was caused by the leading edge of the wing.

Any surface that turns the air away from freestream will cause a shockwave. See all the shocks in this photo:


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Ismael Jorda



However, in practice, all the shocks tend to coalesce into the forward and aft shocks at sufficient distance from the airplane.

Quoting HaveBlue (Reply 17):

You are correct, but you left out the one double boom generating 'plane' that thousands of people are familiar with... the Space Shutttle! Living in the Daytona Beach area since I was kid to presently we heard many a double booms as the Shuttle made its way back to Kennedy.

Interestingly, of the two times I've heard Space Shuttle sonic booms (three times really, but I was too young to remember the first), one was a mild double-boom, and the other was an extremely powerful single boom. Of course, given how loud it was, it may have just sounded like a single boom.
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prebennorholm
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RE: Sonic Boom Question

Thu Dec 15, 2011 3:27 am

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 18):
Quoting prebennorholm (Reply 13):
If it flies in a perfect circle around you in totally calm weather (no wind at all), then you will hear a constant boom. (That phenomenon will be very hard to produce in practise).

Wouldn't you actually never hear the boom from an aircraft flying in a circle around you? The aircraft's path is at all times perpendicular to the vector between you and it (the radius of the circle), but the boom is angled backwards, so wouldn't it never actually hit you?

No, you would still hear it.

I think I know what you mean. A straight cone with the plane at the tip would never touch you. But when flying in a circle, the cone isn't straight, but bent similar to the flight path, or somewhat similar to a snail's house.

The boom is generated at all times from the supersonic plane, and it travels in all directions at the speed of sound.

One funny thing, if we imagine the earlier mentioned "perfect circle" flown around you in the center, and the plane flies with Mach number = Pi (3.1415...etc), then the sound will travel exactly one diameter for each circle the plane makes. Since you are one radius - or half a diameter away, then you will hear the boom continuously, but hear it coming from exactly the opposite direction of where you see the plane.

In that scenario, if we define your position as the trailing end of the cone, then the cone has been bent 180 degrees.
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HaveBlue
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RE: Sonic Boom Question

Thu Dec 15, 2011 4:37 am

vikkyvik that picture you posted is just sick! I know you didn't take it but the detail is amazing. Nice.

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 18):
Interestingly, of the two times I've heard Space Shuttle sonic booms (three times really, but I was too young to remember the first), one was a mild double-boom, and the other was an extremely powerful single boom. Of course, given how loud it was, it may have just sounded like a single boom.

I was a teenager the first time I heard it, I wasn't expecting it and it scared the sh*t out of me lol, but it was definitely a double boom.. as were the other times I heard it. Miss that sound..
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sprout5199
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RE: Sonic Boom Question

Thu Dec 15, 2011 1:32 pm

Quoting HaveBlue (Reply 20):
I wasn't expecting it and it scared the sh*t out of me lol, but it was definitely a double boom.. as were the other times I heard it. Miss that sound..

My ex actually woke me up one night saying there was an "explosion" outside. Turned out the Shuttle's path came over South Florida for that landing. news said over 1000 calls to 911 saying there was "explosions" right at the time it flew over. I will miss the sound also and going out side to watch every launch.

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474218
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RE: Sonic Boom Question

Thu Dec 15, 2011 2:13 pm

Quoting spudh (Reply 16):
Fighters are too short to produce a discernable double clap but Concorde, B1 and SR71 should all produce a double with Concordes being the easiest to make out.

I grew up in Palmdale California and in the 1950's and 60's I heard thousands of sonic booms. The vast majority were of the double clap type.
 
vikkyvik
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RE: Sonic Boom Question

Thu Dec 15, 2011 11:24 pm

Quoting prebennorholm (Reply 19):

No, you would still hear it.

I think I know what you mean. A straight cone with the plane at the tip would never touch you. But when flying in a circle, the cone isn't straight, but bent similar to the flight path, or somewhat similar to a snail's house.

The boom is generated at all times from the supersonic plane, and it travels in all directions at the speed of sound.

One funny thing, if we imagine the earlier mentioned "perfect circle" flown around you in the center, and the plane flies with Mach number = Pi (3.1415...etc), then the sound will travel exactly one diameter for each circle the plane makes. Since you are one radius - or half a diameter away, then you will hear the boom continuously, but hear it coming from exactly the opposite direction of where you see the plane.

In that scenario, if we define your position as the trailing end of the cone, then the cone has been bent 180 degrees.

Gotcha, yeah I didn't really think that one through properly.  

Thanks.

Quoting HaveBlue (Reply 20):
vikkyvik that picture you posted is just sick! I know you didn't take it but the detail is amazing. Nice.

Seriously. One of the best I've seen.

Quoting HaveBlue (Reply 20):
I was a teenager the first time I heard it, I wasn't expecting it and it scared the sh*t out of me lol, but it was definitely a double boom.. as were the other times I heard it. Miss that sound..

Yeah, I've heard two since I moved back to LA in 2007. The first was the mild double-boom, and I knew that one was coming - I was following it on SpaceFlightNow, and walked outside right when it said the shuttle had crossed the coastline.

The 2nd one, in '09 or '10, scared the living crap outta me, cause I wasn't expecting it, and it was really loud.
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spudh
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RE: Sonic Boom Question

Fri Dec 16, 2011 10:34 am

Quoting spudh (Reply 16):
As far as I know this is the explanation for a double clap although I thought that there was one caused by the nose and the second was caused by the leading edge of the wing.
Quoting KDTWflyer (Reply 4):
This is because one shock wave forms at the leading edge of the aircraft and another forms at the trailing edge.

I did a bit of digging last night, KDTWflyer is right but I'm not completely wrong. Vikkyvik is closest to the answer. Here's a link with some good photos using Schlieren photography.
http://library.thinkquest.org/12228/Page4.html
Doesn't linger on why a double or single boom. I think it'll have a lot to do with wave propogation / interference and the relative angle and altitude of the flight path relative to the listener.

In the picture of the T-38 Talon at M1.1 it is obvious that the nose and tail shock cones are at different angles. As these travel away they will be further apart and maybe more discenable as double boom. I can only assume that if the intake and wing etc shock waves are parallel they will merge in terms of sound.

Thats my guess but I'm open to education by any passing wisdom  
 
vikkyvik
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RE: Sonic Boom Question

Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:59 pm

Quoting spudh (Reply 24):

I did a bit of digging last night, KDTWflyer is right but I'm not completely wrong. Vikkyvik is closest to the answer. Here's a link with some good photos using Schlieren photography.
http://library.thinkquest.org/12228/....html

Good link, thanks.

If you go to the 2nd page of that link (click the bottom where it says "Now that we know what sonic booms are, click here to take a look at some measurements of sonic booms under varying conditions."), there are some good graphs (starting about 2/3 of the way down).

They show the shockwave pressure changes as measured at different distances below an SR-71. At close range, there are multiple shocks easily distinguishable. Once it gets over a mile away, many of the shocks have merged, and you get pretty close to the double-boom N-wave shock pattern.

I seem to recall that if you're closer to the aircraft, you're more likely to hear a single boom (in fact it's many booms very close together). At larger distances, you can hear the distinct double-boom.
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Geezer
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RE: Sonic Boom Question

Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:27 am

At the time WW 2 started, my sister and her husband moved about 40 miles north to Dayton, Ohio, where he took a job at what was then known as Wright Field; where they lived was maybe a mile away from "The Field" as it was called; this is just about the time that the Air Force was starting to get the "Century Series" Fighters, mainly the F-104 Starfighter, the F-105, and the F-102, ( which was quickly followed by the much improved F-106.)

Important to understand is, it was also at a point in time that the U.S. Air Force had a very limited understanding of all the things being discussed here. For several years, there were a great many things happening on an almost daily basis, having to do with these then new types creating sonic booms, ( and also I must sadly add, some fairly frequent "large smoking holes" in the ground. ) The F-104 was by far the "leader" in both of these things. A lot of things had changed very quickly as far as military aviation is concerned, most notably from the time the war was over, and well into the 1950"s. I will even stick my neck out and say, the Air Force was doing many things that it had almost no understanding of.

A few examples; they were working feverishly on the F-104 program; at one point, they we're having a big "exhibition" strictly for high level military "brass" at Patterson Field; they had set up a very shaky looking temporary bleachers out on the field, near the runway; the "star"of the show was to be a F-104; the "plan" was for a .95 M "fly-by", about 100 feet in front of all these Generals, Admirals, ect. and at VERY low level; ( like maybe about 50 ft AGL ! Well, the pilot apparently got a little too "heavy handed", and as he reached maybe a few hundred feet from this crowd, he inadvertently ( ? ) exceeded M 1, and the BOOM knocked hats off, shoes off, possibly even a few hair pieces off !

As I mentioned before, my brother-in-law was working in Experimental Engineering at Wright at the time, so even though I was just a kid at the time, I heard all the details ! Correct me if I'm wrong, but I seriously doubt that such a thing could happen within the last 20 or 30 years or so; aircraft performance ( and knowledge of it ) has advanced quite a lot since then. I should also mention...........a big investigation later revealed...........that the whole damn thing was the PILOT'S fault ! ( no surprise there of course )

A few years later, the B-58 Hustler came along; That's when we started hearing a LOT of sonic booms ! For almost a year, they were flying Hustlers directly over Middletown, Ohio ( where I lived with my parents when I wasn't in Dayton at my Sister's house, the better to watch all the airplanes flying around ) Anyway, the B-58's were flying mock bombing runs, fairly high altitude, ( I forget how high, but they looked pretty high ), but they were definitely NOT flying in any circles..........they were FLAT OUT........straight line, well above M 1; I'm certainly no expert on what causes the loudest sonic booms, but I can sure tell you this..........Those B-58's all had 4 big J-79's running wide open, and when they came over, every evening........they made LOTS of noise ! ( like maybe being 100 ft from a 2,000 pounder going off ! )


[quote=chrisco1204,reply=14]A sonic boom might sound slightly different over different surfaces like water, dirt, rock, etc. simply due to how it might echo, and interact with those surfaces.


The above sentence reminds me of something; most noise made by an airplane................................

Many years later, I'm visiting my son in Ridgecrest, Ca. where he spends his time at the U.S.N.W.C., China Lake. The wife and I were on a over-night camping trip over to the Kern River, near the Sequoia National Forest; we're basically just out sight-seeing; we were standing at the top edge of this big long canyon, the hills on each side being maybe 800-900 ft high, maybe 1/4 mile apart; early evening, miles from roads, quiet as any place you can imagine, just admiring the scenery ...............then BAM ! No, not a sonic boom, but 2 Navy FA-18's from either China Lake or Pt. Magu, blasting down the length of that canyon, maybe 200 ft below us, and REAL FAST, about 10 ft apart ! Talk about noise ! ( and it wasn't instant like a boom.......it lasted for maybe 20, 30 seconds, till they ran out of canyon, pulled straight up, went vertical to who knows how high, and disappeared in seconds ! The noise generated by that is great, but flying through that canyon, bare granite walls each side...........I'm surprised they haven't made a movie there ! I it's the loudest thing I've ever heard.

A thought just entered my head..........I'm wondering, now, years after all this stuff, is there any possibility that any of this had anything to do with me not being able to hear a bomb going off in the next room, or the TV on max volume ?

Charley
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