Re: Sonic Boom

From:         ben@emx.cc.utexas.edu (Benjamin J. Sloan)
Organization: The University of Texas - Austin
Date:         13 Oct 93 11:50:53 PDT
References:   1 2
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sandee@Think.COM (Daan Sandee) writes:

|>  I am also willing to know what is it like having a Concorde at 
|> Mach 2 flying over my head 60000ft high.

>It's not too bad. I've heard it on occasion, fifty miles off Cape Cod
>in the North Atlantic (me being on a boat, I mean). A dull, distant boom,
>not likely to cause any damage when overflying populated areas. The
>problem is mostly psychological : it upsets people.

I was out in about the remotest part of Texas, in the Trans Pecos, southeast
of El Paso, last year when I encounteed a sonic boom.  It was on a ranch 
between the Sierra Vieja mountains and the Rio Grande river.  While facing down
the valley, enjoying a cup of coffee and the sunrise, I was shocked to see
a B1 bomber "appear" in my field of view about 2000 feet off the ground, headed
away from me.  About the time I realized what it was, the sonic boom thundered
over the landscape, sending birds into the trees, rattling windows, and so
forth.  The rancher informed me that these very unpleasant low-altitude 
canyon runs take place several mornings per week, courtesy of the SAC base in
Abilene.  About six months after my introduction to the phenomenon, the papers
reported the unhappy union of one of these aircraft and the Sierra Vieja
mountains.  Score one for Mother Nature.  

Yip-ee-ki-ya!

Ben Sloan
ben@emx.utexas.edu