Looking for the Silver Lining


Coming Through

Speed kills colour... the gyroscope, when turning at full speed, shows up gray.

- Paul Morand

America is a country that doesn't know where it is going but is determined to set a speed record getting there.

- Laurence J Peter

Sonic image: This startling image is the first look at what happens when a plane goes through the sound barrier.

Break on Through to the Other Side

This FA-18 Hornet, piloted by United States Air Force Lieutenant Ron Candiloro, appears to punch a hole through the air as it hits supersonic speed over the Pacific Ocean.  It is difficult to capture the phenomenon on film because it occurs so quickly.  The disc-shaped white haze surrounding the aircraft is moisture that has vapourised.  It is contoured around the intense air pressure wave created by the speed of the plane.  The air pressure wave - which traps the noise of the plane's engines - is visible as the aircraft approaches and passes through the trans-sonic zone at Mach 1 - or 1,224km/h.

Though it has been 52 years since American test pilot legend Chuck Yeager first broke the sound barrier in his X1 jet, the United States Navy has only now captured a photograph of what most people only hear.  The "sonic boom" of a plane at supersonic speed is now common as modern fighters easily reach speeds of Mach 2 and beyond.  Only one commercial aircraft, Concorde, can break the sound barrier.

Source: The Dominion Monday 26 July 1999 Photo credit AFP - US Navy

My sons downloaded a video clip of this off the Internet which is even more stunning than the single photo.
Click to Play

F-4 Phantom Caught Breaking the Sound Barrier

Using a 35mm camera, a telephoto lens and ASA 400 film, Pat Maloney, an engineering planner, photographed an F-4 Phantom II at the moment it broke the sound barrier at the annual Pt Magu Naval Air Station Air Show.  "The photograph of the visible shock wave is rare," stated Maloney.  "It required a humid day, split second timing and no small measure of luck."  Maloney frequently practices photography at the many airshows he attends.

Source: milair.simplenet.com The Military Aircraft Archive

And, Less Spectacularly, the Space Shuttle...

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