What is Sonic Booms and Mach Cones in Fighter Jets ?

The sonic boom is produced by exceeding the speed of sound, generating thunderous and audible shock waves.

The Physics Behind Sonic Booms: Speed ​​and Shock Waves

When an object like an airplane travels faster than the speed of sound, it creates an acoustic phenomenon known as a sonic boom. The speed of sound is approximately 750 miles per hour (1,207 kilometers per hour) at sea level, according to the United States Department of Defense.

When an object reaches a certain speed, it creates shockwaves that spread out in different directions. This speed can be affected by things like temperature and humidity.

When an airplane accelerates, it compresses the air in front of it, creating a pressure wave that expands in the shape of a cone, called a Mach cone, once it surpasses the sonic barrier.

Sonic boom is the sound that an aircraft makes when there is a sudden change in air pressure around it. The intensity of this sound varies based on factors such as the altitude, shape of the aircraft, and atmospheric conditions during flight. It’s important to note that these are the main factors affecting this sound.

The perception of the sonic boom can vary significantly, sometimes manifesting itself as a double boom. This phenomenon is especially notable in longer aircraft, where the boom can originate from both the leading and trailing edges of the aircraft.

High-performance military jets, such as the Lockheed Martin SR-71 Blackbird and the  F-35 Lightning II, are common examples of supersonic maneuvers, the reverberations of which are audible on the ground as a testament to their power.

Practical Consequences of Sonic Booms in Populated Environments

What is Sonic Booms and Mach Cones in Fighter Jets ?

Sonic booms are loud sounds that come from flying planes. They are important to consider because they can be disruptive and cause damage. To reduce the impact on communities, there are rules that forbid supersonic flights in overcrowded areas. At lower altitudes, the sound waves can be strong enough to break things, like glass.

The Concorde was a commercial plane that was famous for crossing the Atlantic Ocean at high speeds exceeding Mach 2. This aircraft generated sonic booms, which marked a new era in supersonic air travel. However, people became concerned about the environmental and acoustic impact of these flights. Because of these concerns, supersonic air travel has not become a regular service.

In addition to the sonic boom, the Mach cone represents another visually spectacular phenomenon associated with supersonic aviation. This shock wave cone is observable from the ground when the aircraft passes it, offering a spectacle worthy of contemplation, although its presence is testimony to the sonic disturbance that accompanies exceeding the sound barrier.