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Picture of the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A Hornet aircraft

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Aircraft Taken at
More: USA - Navy
More: McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A Hornet
More: Off-Airport - San Francisco
More: USA - California, October 6, 2007
Remark Photographer
163106 (cn 0495/A409) Clearly visible shockwaves forming around the tail, under the engine intake and above the canopy as Blue Angels #5 performs a sneak pass at San Francisco Fleet Week 2007.
More: Joerg Amann
Contact Joerg Amann
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Distinct views: 246,823
Photo added: November 3, 2007
Average views per day: 96

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Visitor comments (99)   [Hide]Post your own comments by rating the photo above!
A visitor from - posted Mon December 16, 2013:
Wow those vertical tails......just, WOW. Just think if they could eliminate the vertical tails and use thrust vectoring only. Huge savings.

A visitor from - posted Mon December 16, 2013:
Through the sound barrier....heck, it looks like he's about to go through the TIME barrier!

A visitor from - posted Sun December 15, 2013:
Once in a liftime photo. Superb

A visitor from United Kingdom posted Fri February 22, 2013:
Shockwave Detail superb ! to pan so fast well awesome shot!!

A visitor from Germany posted Tue November 13, 2012:
GREAT PHOTO

A visitor from United Kingdom posted Sat February 18, 2012:
Only i can thank the photographer for his image.

A visitor from Portugal posted Thu February 2, 2012:
Wonderfull shot!

A visitor from Russian Federation posted Fri January 13, 2012:
OMG! Incredible! should be in top 50!

A visitor from - posted Fri January 6, 2012:
Great!!!man!

A visitor from United Kingdom posted Sun January 1, 2012:
Top class

A visitor from Guatemala posted Wed December 7, 2011:
Taking pictures of high speed jets it's complicated but almost sea level it's really amazing , and the Blue Angels are so unique for that

A visitor from - posted Wed June 1, 2011:
This is perfect

A visitor from United Kingdom posted Thu April 28, 2011:
Capturing the shockwave without the (now) ubiquitous vapour cloud has made for a once in a lifetime shot. Truly exceptional work!

A visitor from Canada posted Wed March 2, 2011:
In a word AWESOME!!!!!

A visitor from United States posted Sun November 14, 2010:
Awesome detail of the sonic wave in this sneak pass of Blue Angel #5 in San Francisco Fleet Week 2007!

A visitor from - posted Fri November 5, 2010:
So Perfect!!!!! All the details!!!

A visitor from United States posted Sat October 2, 2010:
Excellent detail, amazing composition!

A visitor from - posted Sun July 18, 2010:
WOW ................

A visitor from - posted Wed May 5, 2010:
Back from the future!

A visitor from United Kingdom posted Tue March 23, 2010:
This reminds me of the TV series by Richard Hammond about how our eyes don't pick up certain things which are there. This is the perfect demonstration of it. Amazing shot!

A visitor from - posted Mon December 28, 2009:
Wow!!!

A visitor from - posted Wed December 16, 2009:
Truly an amazing photo. Looks like it's comming out of a wormhole. Incredible clarity.

A visitor from South Africa posted Sun November 15, 2009:
Panning shots are always tricky - especially at this speed, yet your target is crystal clear! Amazing work :)

A visitor from Netherlands posted Mon November 9, 2009:
HOLY COW! This is just the most amazing picture I've ever seen of a sneak pass. The way you can see the shockwaves is truly amazing! Congratulations with this capture.

A visitor from Slovakia posted Sat August 29, 2009:
That is magnificent.. well done

A visitor from Netherlands posted Wed May 6, 2009:
Shocking picture!

A visitor from - posted Wed April 8, 2009:
Cool!i wish i was a blue angel pilot.

A visitor from Spain posted Wed April 8, 2009:
Great photo

A visitor from United Kingdom posted Fri March 27, 2009:
Awesome photo

A visitor from - posted Sat March 21, 2009:
Good Golly Miss Molly!

A visitor from Italy posted Wed February 25, 2009:
Absolutely fantastic! Really beautiful!

A visitor from United States posted Fri January 9, 2009:
First, a picture of a Blue Angels F/A-18 wave skimming is great, but with shockwaves as well - simply amazing.

A visitor from United States posted Wed January 7, 2009:
The F/A18 is in focus. The pilot is clearly visible. The great part is the shock wave. The aircraft is at or near mach 1 and the air is really compressed. I like the way it distorts the boats in the background. I wish I had taken this shot. Great wake too.

A visitor from Germany posted Sun November 2, 2008:
Nothing short of superb! Keep up the good work!

A visitor from United States posted Wed October 8, 2008:
Cool

A visitor from United States posted Sun August 17, 2008:
This photo captures the essence of what this aircraft does best...breaks the laws of physics!

A visitor from Netherlands posted Mon June 23, 2008:
What a fine detailed pcture showing the immense power of such an aircraft. Physics for specilists !

A visitor from New Zealand posted Fri June 13, 2008:
It's a glorious example of a Schlieren photograph taken without any of the usual trappings required to take such photographs. This is a better than once in a life time shot.

A visitor from Romania posted Wed June 11, 2008:
The aircraft moving a hight speed is pushing the air leading to layers of air with different density, hence the 'lens' effect. The heavy detailed background just makes it more obvious but enough with the physics... GREAT SHOT!

A visitor from - posted Sat May 31, 2008:
Simply unbelievable. I am speechless to see this shot.
Physics at its best.

A visitor from Argentina posted Sat May 31, 2008:
Beautiful picture! It can be clearly observed the complex pattern of expansion-compression waves at transonic speed over the critical mach number (prandtl-meyer fan followed by normal shock wave).

A visitor from Germany posted Sun April 27, 2008:
Very impressive photo showing lots of shockwaves around the plane. I guess quite rare to capture a plane at that high speed close to the ground.

A visitor from United States posted Sat April 26, 2008:
Too Cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

A visitor from United Kingdom posted Tue April 1, 2008:
It is different shot

A visitor from - posted Sun February 10, 2008:
Espectacular

A visitor from United States posted Tue February 5, 2008:
I've seen a lot of trans-sonic images, but the clarity of the entire shock field captured in this shot is truly remarkable.

A visitor from Canada posted Mon February 4, 2008:
Quite simply a remarkable photo joerg. the way you captured the compression waves is amazing. keep up the good work.

A visitor from United States posted Mon January 21, 2008:
Wow, this picture is amazing. I never imagined that it was actually visible in this way

A visitor from Canada posted Thu December 20, 2007:
Never imagined it would be so!

A visitor from United States posted Tue December 18, 2007:
Actually being able to freeze the visible airflow in transonic range is very unique and rare

A visitor from United States posted Tue December 11, 2007:
This is just amazing you can even see the trans-sonic airflow coming around the plane and look at the water following after it

A visitor from United States posted Fri December 7, 2007:
The compression waves at trans-sonic speed are very well articulated and captured in the swoop-roster tail over the water- amazing detail and composition of the forces at work as welll as vivid color are contrast

A visitor from United States posted Tue November 27, 2007:
Great plane neat setting

A visitor from United States posted Sun November 18, 2007:
This great photo shows transonic airflow around the Blue Angels F-18 with superb clarity. Unlike many similar photos - popular as computer wallpaper - that reveal only condensation in the expansions following the shock waves, here we see the shocks themselves by way of background distortion. This works best when the background has strong light-dark boundaries, as in the case of the white boats against the dark water. The shock wave pattern is complicated over the wings and tail, but note the single shock which terminates a local supersonic-flow region generated by the canopy. Also the white water following the shock wave system is caused (I think) by the fact that moving shock waves drag an airflow behind them that is strong enough in this case to whip the water into froth. Finally, the shocks above and below the aircraft tail have a distinctly “glassy” appearance. To me this is the most fascinating thing about this photo. It is a psychological effect, arising from our experience in seeing the world through antique mouth-blown window-panes that have such streaks or striations in them. On those rare occasions when you can see them, shock waves in air look just like streaks in glass. Both are invisible unless revealed by background distortion. Here, the background distortion is a form of the “Schlieren” optical technique, where the word “Schlieren” itself is German for streaks such as those in antique glass. (Comment by Gary Settles, Penn State University.)

A visitor from Turkey posted Sat November 10, 2007:
Congratulations, best shot

A visitor from South Africa posted Thu November 8, 2007:
I have looked at photos on this site for more than three years. I have never seen anything like it. I thought this shock wave was only visible in a wind tunnel. In addition the plane seems to pull a wave.

A visitor from China posted Thu November 8, 2007:
Sweet! I miss seeing the Angels, having lived & attended school in Pensacola in the early '80s.

A visitor from Germany posted Thu November 8, 2007:
Physics at its best!

A visitor from Germany posted Thu November 8, 2007:
Holy cow - what a shot. Thanks Joerg- You just made my day.

A visitor from United States posted Wed November 7, 2007:
Holy cow, that is a perfectly captured shot!

A visitor from United States posted Tue November 6, 2007:
Fantastic shot! How far away from the aircraft were you and what kind of lens were you using?

A visitor from United States posted Tue November 6, 2007:
The capture of the shockwave is unbellevable!

A visitor from Sweden posted Tue November 6, 2007:
WOW! I've been "collecting" shots like this for some time but never seen anything like this one. Most pictures like these shows moisture formed by the shock wave - I assume this is the actual shock wave. Unique and intriguing!

A visitor from Brazil posted Mon November 5, 2007:
The Matrix?!

A visitor from United States posted Mon November 5, 2007:
Absoulutely Mind-Blowing shot! It appears to going through a time warp!

A visitor from United States posted Mon November 5, 2007:
This website isn't capturing nationality of the message-poster correctly.

A visitor from United States posted Mon November 5, 2007:
I've never seen a shockwave pictured like this before. Beautifully done; the moment was captured and the focus is excellent.

A visitor from Ireland posted Mon November 5, 2007:
My Jaw literally dropped on seeing this. AMAZING shot!

A visitor from Italy posted Mon November 5, 2007:
One of the most beautiful pics ever! 5 stars! Everything is perfect.

A visitor from - posted Mon November 5, 2007:
Damn! reading about shock waves and calculating them is one thing, seeing it in real life is just amazing! 5 stars!!

A visitor from Japan posted Mon November 5, 2007:
Best view of high speed aerodynamics I have seen

A visitor from Spain posted Mon November 5, 2007:
Excellent shot in motion. This picture appeals to me how fast this aircraft flies. I can imagine perfectly the sound of the engine, roaring into my ears.

A visitor from United States posted Mon November 5, 2007:
Hands down the best photo I've ever seen on airliners.net - well done!

A visitor from United Kingdom posted Mon November 5, 2007:
Stunning,extrordinary shot.
Looks like an air tunnel Schlieren photo.
Just great, thanks!

A visitor from Portugal posted Mon November 5, 2007:
Simply amazing! common shockwaves can be seen by an pressure cam, but in this peace of art it can be seen just naturally!

A visitor from Russian Federation posted Mon November 5, 2007:
7 stars: look at boats - before and after shock wave! This is amazing!

A visitor from United States posted Mon November 5, 2007:
Great picture! I've seen the video as well and it is just spectacular!

A visitor from Netherlands posted Mon November 5, 2007:
Never seen anything like this before. Just amazing!

A visitor from Turkey posted Mon November 5, 2007:
Stunning photo! I've never saw shockwaves like this way. 5 stars.

A visitor from Bosnia And Herzegovina posted Mon November 5, 2007:
Simply great shot... Shock wave so clearly seen.

A visitor from New Zealand posted Sun November 4, 2007:
This is scary as! Amazing shot!

A visitor from Australia posted Sun November 4, 2007:
It is a perfect shot of a f/a-18

A visitor from United States posted Sun November 4, 2007:
Best blue angels shot on the site, by far, and maybe the most amazing photo of an aircraft that I have ever seen...

A visitor from United States posted Sun November 4, 2007:
Beautiful how the lower shockwave, almost a perfect triangle, intersects the water at the point where the blast begins. A pictorial physics lesson! 5*

A visitor from United States posted Sun November 4, 2007:
Absolutely incredible, very well done!

A visitor from United Kingdom posted Sun November 4, 2007:
I have never seen shockwaves caught on photo.

A visitor from Spain posted Sun November 4, 2007:
Never seen before ! Terrific shot !

A visitor from Germany posted Sun November 4, 2007:
Wow, fabolous shot. picture-perfect!

A visitor from Germany posted Sun November 4, 2007:
Never seen something like that before, just incredible!

A visitor from United States posted Sun November 4, 2007:
I will be honest, that is the most amazing photo I have ever seen! Incredible work!

A visitor from United States posted Sun November 4, 2007:
Amazing Picture, love the distortion.

A visitor from France posted Sun November 4, 2007:
Incredible, very useful to see where the shockwaves form also. Congratulations for this shot !

A visitor from Costa Rica posted Sun November 4, 2007:
Amazing shot you brought us!!!

A visitor from United States posted Sun November 4, 2007:
Thanks for this one!

A visitor from United States posted Sun November 4, 2007:
Great pic. I don't recall ever seeing the sonic wave in clear air - without the usual accompanying condensation.

A visitor from United States posted Sat November 3, 2007:
Amazing shot!

A visitor from United States posted Sat November 3, 2007:
Amazing!
ub

A visitor from Netherlands posted Sat November 3, 2007:
Very nicely taken! Interesting to see the shockwaves in this way. Well done!

A visitor from Netherlands posted Sat November 3, 2007:
Looks like clear glass!!
very well done!!

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