go to Yellow Airplanes home baseAn F-18 Hornet Breaks the Sound Barrier over the USS Kitty Hawk 

The Kitty Hawk by ET2 Darren Drake
The F-18 Hornet

Click Here's a picture of a Super F-18 Hornet breaking the sound barrier. The sound barrier varies with altitude but is mostly dependent on the temperature. The higher you go, the colder it is and the air is also thinner. If you travel entirely into space, there is no air and sound cannot propagate, so there is no sound in space. 

Click here to see pictures of he kitty hawk back in 1977  Click here to go to the Yellow Airplane Home Base


An F-18 From VA-192
Breaks the Sound Barrier
Over The USS Kitty Hawk, CV63


an f18 hornet flys above the uss kitty hawk aircraft carrier

the f/a 18 is now over twenty years old

Photo from ET2 Darren Drake
 stationed aboard the USS Kitty Hawk



Click here for a fantastic video of an F-14 Tomcat breaking the sound barrier next to the USS Kitty Hawk, 

by Darren Drake

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The F-18 Hornet is a tremendous all weather, light attack bomber and fighter. The actual designation is the F/A-18 because it is a multi-role aircraft giving the military greater versatility.
The f18 shown in this picture is the only VA-192 airplane with the beautiful colors on its tail. This is the public relations version. The other hornets are all misty grey for better camouflage
Click Here's the best explanation for the boom.
First let me try to clear up a common misconception that most people have
about sonic booms. The "boom" actually DOES NOT happen when the airplane exceeds the speed of sound. Some people imagine that the speed of sound is a "barrier", and that a sonic boom is the noise made when this barrier is "broken." This isn't correct. Here's an analogy which might make things clearer. A normal airplane is like a rowboat making waves in a smooth lake. A supersonic jet is like a speedboat which leaves a V-shaped wake behind it as it travels. 

Imagine a rowboat on a lake. Imagine that you are viewing it from above. It is moving forward. It is also making waves as the boat jumps ahead and as the paddles disturb the surface of the water. These waves move much faster than the boat, so what you'll see from above is a slowly moving boat with a bulls eye-pattern of waves expanding from it in all directions. A normal airplane is like our boat, and the sound waves are like the waves on the water. As an airplane moves ahead, it sends out sound waves in all directions. The waves travel faster than the plane. The sound waves are  like spherical onion-layers which fly outwards from the plane, with the airplane in the center of the expanding "onion."

If a speedboat travels faster than the speed of water waves, it cannot send out a bulls eye-shaped pattern of ripples. For every ripple it made, the speedboat would plough forward through the ripple, moving faster than the ripple possibly could. Because it oversteps its own ripples, a speedboat instead makes a V-shaped wake on the lake. This wake is like a sonic boom, but it's using water waves rather than sound waves.
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When a supersonic aircraft flies faster than the speed of sound, it does not send out normal sound waves. Instead it sends out a V-shaped ripple. Of course its not exactly like the water waves, since air is three-dimensional. A supersonic aircraft sends out a cone-shaped ripple of sound waves as it flys. The aircraft is in the tip of the "cone." This ripple is the sonic boom.

Pilots cannot hear their own sonic boom. If you were Superman and could fly along outside a supersonic aircraft, you would not hear the boom either. This is because for you the "boom" is a region of increased pressure that follows along with the plane. Superman could stick his hand into the airplane's one-shaped wake and feel the high pressure there. He could even stick his head into the pressure wake but still would hear no "boom" (although the pressure change might make his ears pop!) A sonic boom is only a "boom" or "crack" sound for people on the ground. As the plane flies along, it drags its cone-shaped pressure wave along the ground like a skirt. As the cone of pressure passes by, we hear it as an explosion. It's very much like the sound-pulse from an explosion, but rather than expanding from a centralized explosion, the wave is being continuously created by the flying plane. Depending on the shape of the plane and its speed, the pressure wave might be thick or thin. If it's thin, it will sound like a "snap" or a "bang". If its broad, it will sound like a "thump" or a "boom." Imagine the wave from our speedboat. As the boat passes by, all is quiet on the shore. The wave approaches, then SPLASH! 
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The splash of a speedboat wake on the shore is like the "thump" of a supersonic jet's wake when it hits the surface of the land. Pressure waves from supersonic aircraft can be destructive. They can blow out windows, and even collapse walls and roofs. The higher the plane flies, the wider and weaker the pressure wave becomes. If a supersonic plane flew at rooftop level, the sonic pressure wave might explode buildings like a tornado does. Even if a jet pilot flees high, the cone-shaped wave can become "kinked" when the plane makes a sudden turn. The pressure wave can be very strong inside the elbow of the "kink" and when it hits the ground it can cause trouble. The rule for fighter pilots is "Fly high over populated areas, and no high-speed turns!" ill look for more info, but this is pretty good 

ET2 Darren Drake


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