Jun 13, 2012

40 Photos of Airplanes Breaking the Sound Barrier

 

Supersonic speed is a rate of travel of an object that exceeds the speed of sound (Mach 1). For objects travelling in dry air of a temperature of 20 °C (68 °F) this speed is approximately 343 m/s, 1,125 ft/s, 768 mph or 1,235 km/h.

A sonic boom is the sound associated with the shock waves created by an object traveling through the air faster than the speed of sound. Sonic booms generate enormous amounts of sound energy, sounding much like an explosion. So that means that the sound source (in this case an airplane), will pass by a stationary observer (like yourself) before they actually hear the sound it creates. To help visualize this, check out the animated gif below:

 

 

Below you will find a gallery of incredibly fast and expensive airplanes breaking the sound barrier and thus travelling at supersonic speeds. That means they are going faster than 343 meters per second (1,125 ft per second). To enhance the gallery, just try and imagine the sound that would (eventually) accompany such a sighting. The vapor trails and moisture that appear around the airplanes also add a great touch to these amazing photos. Enjoy!

 

 

 

1.

 

airplane breaking the sound barrier

Pacific Ocean (Nov. 5, 2006) – An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to the “Diamondbacks” of Strike Fighter Squadron One Zero Two (VFA-102) completes a super-sonic flyby as part of an air power demonstration for visitors aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63). VFA-102 is one of the nine squadrons and detachments assigned to Carrier Air Wing Five (CVW-5) and embarked aboard Kitty Hawk. Kitty Hawk and CVW-5 is currently deployed off the coast of southern Japan on a scheduled deployment. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jarod Hodge

 

 

 

2.

 

f18 breaking the sound barrier

Off the coast of Pusan, South Korea, July 7, 1999 — An F/A-18 Hornet assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron One Five One (VFA-151) breaks the sound barrier in the skies over the Pacific Ocean. VFA-151 is deployed aboard USS Constellation (CVN 64). U.S. Navy photo by Ensign John Gay.

 

 

 

3.

 

airplane breaking the sound barrier looking from below

GULF OF ALASKA (June 22, 2009) An Air Force F-22 Raptor executes a supersonic flyby over the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). John C. Stennis is participating in Northern Edge 2009, a joint exercise focusing on detecting and tracking units at sea, in the air and on land. (U.S. Navy photo by Sonar Technician (Surface) 1st Class Ronald Dejarnett)

 

 

 

4.

 

f18 hornet breaking sound barrier streaks of air show speed

MEDITERRANEAN SEA (July 9, 2010) An F/A-18C Hornet assigned to the Wildcats of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 131 breaks the sound barrier during an air power demonstration above the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). The Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group is deployed as a part of an ongoing rotation of forward-deployed forces to support maritime security operations in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Bradley Evans)

 

 

 

5.

 

plane emerges from small looking cloud as result of breaking speed of sound

PACIFIC OCEAN (March 28, 2010) An F/A-18 Super Hornet breaks the sound barrier during a flight demonstration for Peruvian visitors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). Carl Vinson is supporting Southern Seas 2010, a U.S. Southern Command-directed operation that provides U.S. and international forces the opportunity to operate in a multi-national environment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Adrian White)

 

 

 

6.

 

a jet goes supersonic view from behind plane

PACIFIC OCEAN (March 27, 2010) An F/A-18 Super Hornet embarked aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) breaks the sound barrier during a flight demonstration for Peruvian visitors. Carl Vinson is underway off the coast of Peru supporting Southern Seas 2010, a U.S. Southern Command-directed operation that provides U.S. and international forces the opportunity to operate in a multi-national environment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Adrian White/Released)

 

 

 

7.

 

breaking the sound barrier view from the nose of the plane

ATLANTIC OCEAN (April 17, 2008) Capt. Norbert “Smurf” Szarleta, commanding officer of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17, breaks the sound barrier in an F/A-18F Super Hornet strike fighter during an air power demonstration aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) on 17April 2008. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Yeoman Augustine Cooper

 

 

 

8.

 

two planes side by side breaking the sound barrier

PACIFIC OCEAN (Sept. 23, 2007) – Two F/A-18C Hornets, assigned to the “Dambusters” of Strike Fighter Squadron 195, punch through a cloud of water vapor while breaking the sound barrier during an air power demonstration for friends and family of USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63). U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jimmy C. Pan

 

 

 

9.

 

breaking sound barrier while making high speed pass from side angle

PACIFIC OCEAN (Aug. 24, 2007) – An F/A-18C Hornet, from the “Argonauts” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147, breaks the sound barrier while making a high-speed pass close to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) during an air power demonstration. The air power demonstration showed the capability of Stennis and Carrier Air Wing 9 to service members’ family and friends who were invited to get underway with the ship. Stennis is returning to the United States after a 7.5-month-long deployment promoting peace, regional cooperation and stability and supporting the global war on terrorism. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ron Reeves

 

 

 

10.

 

wildcat breaks the sound barrier amongst the clouds

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Aug. 1, 2007) – An F/A-18C Hornet assigned to the “Wildcats” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 131 breaks the sound barrier during an aerial demonstration for the Sailors aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). Eisenhower is currently underway in the Atlantic Ocean. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Jon Dasbach

 

 

 

11.

 

closeup shot of an airplane going supersonic

NORFOLK, Virginia (June 2, 2007)- An F/A-18C Hornet attached to the “Raging Bulls” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 37 punches through a cloud of water vapor while breaking the sound barrier during an air power demonstration on board the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). Truman Sailors brought over 4000 guests on board for a day-long Friends and Family Day cruise on June 2. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kristopher Wilson

 

 

 

12.

 

head on view of an airplane going supersonic

SOUTH CHINA SEA (April 3, 2007) – An F/A-18C Hornet, assigned to the “Fist of the Fleet” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 25, breaks the sound barrier while performing a supersonic flyby of USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) during an air power demonstration. The air power demonstration was performed by Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14 and featured participation from each of the eight squadrons assigned to CVW-14. Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group is underway in support of operations in the western Pacific. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Aaron Burden

 

 

 

13.

 

super hornet going supersonic speed from the side view

San Diego (Oct. 15, 2006) – An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to the “Screaming Eagles” of Strike Fighter Squadron One Two Two (VFA-122), flown by Lt. Matt Turner, pushes the limits of the sound barrier during a performance at the Miramar Air Show on board Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. This year’s air show was themed “The Sound of Freedom: Celebrating the Blue Angels’ 60th Anniversary”, showcasing military and civilian aircraft and static displays. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Scott Taylor

 

 

 

14.

 

view from back right side of airplane going supersonic speed

East China Sea (Sept. 11, 2006) – An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to Carrier Air Wing Five breaks the sound barrier during an air power demonstration practice aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63). Currently underway in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR), Kitty Hawk demonstrates power projection and sea control as the U.S. Navy’s only permanently forward-deployed aircraft carrier. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Joshua Wayne LeGrand

 

 

 

15.

 

breaking the sound barrier near the uss kitty hawk

Pacific Ocean (Aug. 17, 2005) – An F/A-18C Hornet, assigned to the “Golden Dragons” of Strike Fighter Squadron One Nine Two (VFA-192), breaks the sound barrier near the conventionally powered aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63). Kitty Hawk and embarked Carrier Air Wing Five (CVW-5) are currently returning to their homeport after a scheduled deployment in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Jonathan Chandler

 

 

 

16.

 

f18 super hornet goes supersonic speed

Philippine Sea (July 27, 2005) – An F/A-18F Super Hornet, assigned to the “Diamondbacks” of Strike Fighter Squadron One Zero Two (VFA-102), breaks the sound barrier during a fly-by over the conventionally powered aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63). Kitty Hawk and embarked Carrier Air Wing Five (CVW-5) are currently conducting operations in the Philippine Sea. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Jonathan Chandler

 

 

 

17.

 

hornet doing a flyover at supersonic speed

Atlantic Ocean (June 9, 2004) – An F/A-18 Hornet, assigned to the “Marauders” from Strike Fighter Squadron Eight Two (VFA-82), piloted by Lt. Cmdr. James Montgomery, of Yukon, Okla., reaches the sound barrier during a supersonic flyby over USS Enterprise (CVN 65). Enterprise is one of seven aircraft carriers involved in Summer Pulse 2004. Summer Pulse 2004 is the simultaneous deployment of seven aircraft carrier strike groups (CSGs), demonstrating the ability of the Navy to provide credible combat power across the globe, in five theaters with other U.S., allied, and coalition military forces. Summer Pulse is the Navy’s first deployment under its new Fleet Response Plan (FRP). U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Milosz Reterski

 

 

 

18.

 

f14 tomcat going supersonic from the front view

Mediterranean Sea (Apr. 22, 2003) — An F-14B Tomcat assigned to the “Swordsmen” of Fighter Squadron Thirty Seven (VF-32) reaches the sound barrier during a low altitude super sonic fly by, during an air wing flight demonstration for the crew aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). Truman and Carrier Air Wing Three (CVW-3) are currently deployed conducting combat missions in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the multinational coalition effort to liberate the Iraqi people, eliminate Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and end the regime of Saddam Hussein. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate Airman Justin S. Osborne

 

 

 

19.

 

PACIFIC OCEAN (May 14, 2012) An FA-18C Hornet assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 25 flies supersonic over the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) during an air power demonstration. Carl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 are underway on a deployment in the U.S. 3rd Fleet area of operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Benjamin Stevens)

 

 

 

20.

 

PACIFIC OCEAN (May 20, 2012) An FA-18C Hornet assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 113 flies supersonic over the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson during an air power demonstration. Carl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 are underway on a deployment in the U.S. 3rd Fleet area of operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Benjamin Stevens)

 

 

 

21.

 

f22 raptor breaking the sound barrier from below

GULF OF ALASKA (June 22, 2009) An Air Force F-22 Raptor executes a supersonic flyby over the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). John C. Stennis is participating in Northern Edge 2009, a joint exercise focusing on detecting and tracking units at sea, in the air and on land. (U.S. Navy photo by Sonar Technician (Surface) 1st Class Ronald Dejarnett)

 

 

 

22.

 

vapor trails from plane going supersonic

ATLANTIC OCEAN (May 26, 2008) Water vapor trails from the surface of an F/A-18C Hornet during a supersonic pass above the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). Truman and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3 are preparing for their return to homeport following a seven-month deployment. U.S. Navy photo by Operations Specialist 3rd Class Kevin T. Murray, Jr.

 

 

 

23.

 

vapor trail from going mach 1

ATLANTIC OCEAN (June 2, 2007) – An F/A-18C Hornet assigned to the Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 37 performs a supersonic pass as part of the air power demonstration during the Friends and Family Day Cruise aboard Nimitz-Class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). Sailors brought their friends and family aboard Truman so they could experience a day in the life of a Sailor. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ricardo Reyes

 

 

 

24.

 

vapor trails from super hornet going supersonic

Philippine Sea (Dec. 4, 2006) – An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron One Zero Two (VFA-102) conducts a supersonic fly-by as part of an air power demonstration aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63). VFA-102, which operates from Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan, is one of the nine squadrons and detachments assigned to Carrier Air Wing Five and is currently embarked aboard Kitty Hawk during a regularly scheduled deployment. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jarod Hodge

 

 

 

25.

 

two planes breaking the sound barrier at mach 1 at the same time

Pacific Ocean (Jan. 29, 2004) – Lt. Col. William “Chester” Waldron, Commanding Officer of the “Black Knights” of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron Three One Four (VMFA-314) performs a supersonic fly-by for Columbia’s Visual effects unit, while filming for the upcoming motion picture production “Stealth” on board USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). The Bremerton, Wash.-based nuclear powered aircraft carrier is currently underway for the first time since returning from an eight and half month western pacific deployment. Carl Vinson is conducting training with Carrier Air Wing Nine (CVW-9) and units of the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group (CSG). U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate Airman Chris M. Valdez.

 

 

 

26.

 

crowd of people watching a plane break the sound barrier

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Aug. 30, 2008) An F/A –18F Strike Fighter assigned to the “Jolly Rogers” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 103 approaches supersonic speed during an air power demonstration aboard the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) during a Friends and Family Day Cruise off the coast of Virginia. The Friends and Family Day Cruise enables guests to experience a day at sea with Sailors assigned to the ship. (U.S. Navy photo by Ens. Ben Addison)

 

 

 

27.

 

Atlantic Ocean (Jul. 26, 2003) — An F/A-18 Hornet, assigned to the “Bulls” of Strike Fighter Squadron Thirty Seven (VFA-37) performs a sonic boom by breaking the sound barrier during a Friends and Family Day Cruise aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Danny Ewing Jr.

 

 

 

28.

 

super hornet going mach 1

MEDITERRENEAN SEA (July 9, 2010) An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to the Jolly Rogers of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 103 breaks the sound barrier during an air power demonstration above aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). The Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group is deployed as a part of an ongoing rotation of forward-deployed forces to support maritime security operations in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Albert K. Jones)

 

 

 

29.

 

Mediterranean Sea (Mar. 30, 2005) – An F-14B Tomcat, assigned to the “Swordsmen” of Fighter Squadron Three Two (VF-32), breaks the sound barrier during the supersonic fly-by portion of an air power demonstration performed by Carrier Air Wing Three (CVW-3), for the Sailors and Marines aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group was recently relieved after completing nearly four months in the Persian Gulf in support of the Global War on Terrorism. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Justin S. Osborne

 

 

 

30.

 

plane does a sonic boom

San Diego (Oct. 13, 2006) – An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to the “Screaming Eagles” of Strike Fighter Squadron One Two Two (VFA-122), flown by Lt. Matt Turner, pushes the limits of the sound barrier during a performance at the Miramar Air Show on board Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. This year’s air show was themed “The Sound of Freedom: Celebrating the Blue Angels’ 60th Anniversary”, showcasing military and civilian aircraft and static displays. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Scott Taylor

 

 

 

31.

 

vapor trails from airplane breaking the sound barrier

PACIFIC OCEAN (Aug. 30, 2010) Capt. Scott Conn, commander of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11, accompanied by Rear Adm. Robert Girrier, commander of Carrier Strike Group (CCSG) 11, breaks the sound barrier during a fly-by over the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68). Nimitz is conducting fleet replacement squadron carrier qualifications off the coast of Southern California. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Peter Merrill)

 

 

 

32.

 

plane going supersonic mach 1 amongst clouds

PACIFIC OCEAN (May 31, 2011) An F/A-18C Hornet assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 113 breaks the sound barrier over the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) during an air power demonstration. Carl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 are underway in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class James R. Evans)

 

 

 

33.

 

hornet going mach 1 from the side angle

 

 

 

34.

 

PACIFIC OCEAN (June 3, 2011) An F/A-18C Hornet assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 113 breaks the sound barrier alongside the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) during an air power demonstration. Carl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 are underway in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class James R. Evans)

 

 

 

35.

 

PACIFIC OCEAN (June 3, 2011) An F/A-18C Hornet assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 113 breaks the sound barrier during an air power demonstration over the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). Carl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 are underway in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Travis K. Mendoza)

 

 

 

36.

 

sonic boom from f18 hornet

PACIFIC OCEAN (June 3, 2011) An F/A-18C Hornet assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 113 breaks the sound barrier during an air power demonstration over the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). Carl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 are underway in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Travis K. Mendoza)

 

 

 

37.

 

low pass at supersonic speed

PACIFIC OCEAN (June 6, 2011) An F/A-18C Hornet assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 113 breaks the sound barrier during an air power demonstration over the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). Carl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 are currently underway in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Travis K. Mendoza)

 

 

 

38.

 

vapor trails from plane going mach 1

PACIFIC OCEAN (Feb. 22, 2012) An F/A-18F Super Hornet from the Black Aces of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 41 breaks the sound barrier during an air power demonstration for participants of a tiger cruise aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). John C. Stennis is returning to homeport in Bremerton, Wash., after completing a seven-month deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Benjamin Crossley)

 

 

 

39.

 

onlookers aboard an aircraft barrier watch a plane go supersonic mach 1

PACIFIC OCEAN (June 6, 2011) An F/A18C Hornet breaks the sound barrier over the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) during an air power demonstration. Carl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 are underway in the U.S. 3rd Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Nicolas C. Lopez)

 

 

 

40.

 

vapor trails from plane doing a low pass and breaking sound barrier

PACIFIC OCEAN (June 6, 2011) An F/A-18C Hornet assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 113 breaks the sound barrier during an air power demonstration over the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). Carl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 are currently underway in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Travis K. Mendoza)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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