# Is a sonic boom only produced when an aircraft is breaking the sound barrier?

## Is a sonic boom only produced when an aircraft is breaking the sound barrier?

When an airplane travels through the air, it produces sound waves. If the plane breaks the sound barrier and flies faster than the speed of sound, it produces a sonic boom when it flies past. The boom is the “wake” of the plane’s sound waves.

### Is breaking the sound barrier the same as breaking the speed of sound?

At 68° F the speed of sound is about 343 m/s or 767 mph at sea level. There is a noticeable increase in the aerodynamic drag on the plane at this point, hence the notion of breaking through the “sound barrier.” When a plane exceeds the speed of sound it is said to be supersonic.

What happens if you fly at exactly the speed of sound?

If the nose of the plane ( the piece in front of every part of the plane) is travelling at the speed of sound, this will be the source of a shock wave which forms a cone starting at the nose. Observers on the ground will hear a ‘sonic boom’ as this shock wave reaches them.

Is there a sonic boom when slowing down?

No. The “boom” is a shock wave that continues to travel with the speeding object as long as its speed exceeds that of sound; when it slows down below the speed of sound, the shock wave just goes away.

## Can you hear a supersonic plane when it breaks the sound barrier?

Short answer: Yes, pilots of a supersonic jet can still hear the humming of the engines when their plane breaks the sound barrier if the sound is transmitted through the air inside the plane (however, they cannot hear the sounds coming from the outside).

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### What happens when a plane breaks the speed of sound?

Now, you might already know that when a plane, or in fact anything, travels faster than the speed of sound (i.e., breaks the sound barrier), a loud boom is heard, which is commonly known as a sonic boom. You may have heard that particularly loud, sometimes even painful boom when a military jet flies by.

Why can’t pilots hear the sonic boom created by their own plane?

Pilots and passengers cannot hear the sonic boom created by their own plane because they are at the head of the Mach cone. In simple words, they are moving so fast that the sonic boom doesn’t get a chance to catch up to them.

What causes a sonic boom when an object passes over?

When the object has passed over the observer, the pressure disturbance waves (Mach waves) radiate toward the ground, causing a sonic boom. The region in which someone can hear the boom is called the boom carpet.