Image: Seeing an X-plane's sonic boom

Image: Seeing an X-plane's sonic boom
Credit: NASA

When NASA's next X-plane takes to the skies, it will produce some pretty cool images.

Thanks to the completion of a recent flight test series at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in California, the agency is a step closer to being able to visually capture the shockwaves of NASA's future Low Boom Flight Demonstration aircraft, or LBFD.

In this schlieren image, an Air Force Test Pilot School T-38 is shown in a transonic state, meaning the aircraft is transitioning from a subsonic speed to supersonic. Above and beneath the aircraft, shockwaves are seen starting to form. These shockwaves propagate away from the and are heard on the ground as a sonic boom. NASA researchers use this imagery to study these shockwaves as part of the effort to make sonic booms quieter, which may open the future to possible over land.


Explore further

NASA image: T-38C passes in front of the sun at supersonic speed

Provided by NASA
Citation: Image: Seeing an X-plane's sonic boom (2017, December 19) retrieved 21 May 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-12-image-x-plane-sonic-boom.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
10 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more