View Full Version : BOOM BOOM!...WTF was that!?

27th Mar 2008, 04:52
Never heard a sonic boom before until tonight's shuttle landing. I've either been away flying or asleep when the shuttle lands. Surprised the hell out of me tonight while I was watching TV at home in Orlando. I thought something had fallen on the roof or a transformer had exploded. That was about 3 mins prior to landing.

Local TV and cable TV's NASA channel broadcast the arrival & landing using an IR camera. Great to watch.

I can stand on our roof and watch it climb during launch. It's bright at night even this far away. I would have loved to see (and hear) an Apollo launch!

27th Mar 2008, 07:25
I think it's because the shuttle is so big. it makes two sonic booms because the front is a long way from the back. everything makes two but usually you can't tell them apart.

I don't think they launch the apollos anymore.

27th Mar 2008, 07:38
You could here the two distinct bangs of Concorde.
I used to hear the Air France one when sailing across the channel. It was known as the Bacardi gun by my skipper!

27th Mar 2008, 10:36

Pearls before swine mate

27th Mar 2008, 10:51
They stopped Apollo?:)

27th Mar 2008, 13:16
They stopped Apollo?

Nah, it's just a different actor on the new "Battlestar Galactica" series playing him.

Now where'd I put my hat?..........

27th Mar 2008, 13:38
They don't do sonic booms when they pass over Dallas. They leave a plasma trail instead which is a truly amazing sight. I'm assuming they're too high to make sonic shock waves.

27th Mar 2008, 14:17
I heard a sonic boom when our primary school was having a lesson outside class on the grass one summers day. It would have been around 1965/6 I guess.

The RAF deliberately boomed London a few times around that time. I recall it was something to do with Concorde's development, but my ropey memory could have that wrong.

Must Google it later.

27th Mar 2008, 16:09
They used to fly supersonic at the Farnborough air show with the aircraft going past dead silent and then a few moments later the sound went past. Anyone remember Jack Derry in the DH110? I was there the day before the disaster on the hill.:sad:

27th Mar 2008, 16:37
I've heard a sonic boom when I was a child, and the airplane was flying low!!! we went by car, and stopped thinking we had blew a wheel, but I was barely able to see the a/c passing overhead, So my father explained that it probably was a sonic boom.

27th Mar 2008, 16:38
Used to get sonic booms almost daily (courtesy of the USAF?) in the 60s when I lived in Dovercourt.

27th Mar 2008, 16:49
'Twas not just Farnborough where displaying aircraft flew supersonic. First it was the Hunters (just?) but then the Frightnings did it easily.

27th Mar 2008, 19:10
The RAF deliberately boomed London a few times around that time

Didn't the Luftvaffe boom London a few times back in the 40s?

27th Mar 2008, 19:23
Is it universal (well Earth-wise) that aircraft shouldn't fly supersonically over land?
As angels reports, there were supersonic flights over Britain 'way back when' in the 60s, when 'they' were deliberating what effect (broken windows and greenhouses) such flights might cause. There was anticipation that Concorde would be allowed to overfly America supersonically (which I believe was knocked on the head).
Don't know what applied over Europe Africa and Asia (or Australia), but keeping subsonic except over oceans severely limits the potential of HSTs.

27th Mar 2008, 19:42
I live in Santa Barbara. I've heard the booms when they land the shuttle at Edwards (about 100 miles away). In addition, they are still allowed to fly supersonic at Edwards airshows. The last one I went to there we got 2 - an SR71 pass and Chuck Yeager doing it in an F-15. I also remember booms in my youth (the 1960s). Every boom I've heard in recent years was a double whack. I can't remember if the ones I heard as a child were.

27th Mar 2008, 19:50
FL390, westbound on a track one sunny afternoon. BA Concorde passed us high leaving a nice contrail. Heard and felt a slight boom in the cockpit of our 767. About the same as a hand slap on the exterior fuselage. Very cool.

Spotted the Shuttle in orbit the night before last after sunset. It was trailing the Space Station, almost appearing in formation although they had already left a day before and could have been 100 miles apart. Both rivaled Venus in illumination.

27th Mar 2008, 20:58
I blame the very first sonic boom I ever heard for getting me interested in aviation.

Year 1956, age ten, family had dragged me kicking and screaming off to yet another month's summer exile in a little, dull, boring beach town on Cape Cod, town name was Truro - had a post office and a small general store, and that's all. Nothing to do except get sunburned and count the days until summer was over and we went back to (comparative) civilization.

Sitting on the beach, toasting in the sun, I see a silver glint way to the south. Two seconds later, it is not a silver glint, it is two USAF jets, perhaps 50 feet up, maybe 50 feet off shore - and they are supersonic. Even at age ten, I knew exactly what was going to happen next - and I clamped my hands over my ears.


No one else on the beach saw them coming, and no one else clearly saw the lead pilot's ear-to-ear sh*t-eating grin as he blasted past - he knew exactly what was going to happen, too. (That's how low and close they were.)

Looked like someone stomped an anthill - people shrieking, running around in panic, even fainting. Two long curving smoke trails northward, upward and out to sea. Yeah.

Right then is when I decided aviation was for me - fifty-two years ago. Never regretted a moment of it, and my grin is still as big as his was.

Best Regards,

Echo Mike