Rambling travelogs from a world traveler

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Zoom and Boom

It's better to be down here wishing you were up there, than to be up there wishing you were down here.

Gentle Readers and Loved Ones,

A friend just sent me this wonderful video. Please watch it now.

Like some others that read this blog, I have a little experience in zooming and booming. I found that video fascinating.

In general, one is not supposed to make a boom close to the ground unless one is operating in "Special Use Airspace" specifically set aside for such activity - these areas mostly exist in the western desert and off-shore. Booming San Francisco Bay is most definitely not such airspace - but the Blue Angels are special too so I guess they get a pass......

The perspicacious reader will have noted that the movies on the ships are way out at sea where such rules no longer apply.

As I have mentioned in other posts, I instructed in the T-38. The student syllabus contained one supersonic flight. It was regulatory to perform this boom ride over 30,000' above mean sea level so that your shock cone did not reach the ground and upset civilians and harm the environment. At that altitude, the only way you could tell that the T-38 was supersonic was by looking at the mach number on the airspeed gauge. If you started around 40,000' in a slight descent, you could get up to Mach 1.2 or so. It was in fact pretty underwhelming.....and you had to complete paperwork when you landed. Most guys didn't like doing it.

High speed, low altitude flight on the other hand is about as exciting as it gets.

When I was a cadet at the Air Force Academy it was accepted as gospel that a flight of F-105s had boomed the zoo in the 60's. As the story goes, they had broken a LOT of windows out of the glass filled architecture that is the Academy. We all retold the story not really knowing what we were talking about but loving a good story. This is the way of many urban legends.

In this modern day of google, I decided to see what the internet contained. I found this fascinating link and this picture:

So, it's not such a legend after all....

I remain,

Dad / Geoff

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