New Picture (1)
We’ve often heard about planes or jets breaking the sound barrier but most probably we’ve not seen photos of them captured at the moment the barrier is broken. Here’s a selection of stunning images of such moments…

40 Pictures of Airplanes Breaking the Sound Barrier
By
Twisted Sifter, 13 June 2012.

Supersonic speed is a rate of travel of an object that exceeds the speed of sound (Mach 1). For objects travelling in dry air of a temperature of 20 °C (68 °F) this speed is approximately 343 m/s, 1,125 ft/s, 768 mph or 1,235 km/h.

A sonic boom is the sound associated with the shock waves created by an object traveling through the air faster than the speed of sound. Sonic booms generate enormous amounts of sound energy, sounding much like an explosion. So that means that the sound source (in this case an airplane), will pass by a stationary observer (like yourself) before they actually hear the sound it creates. To help visualize this, check out the animated gif below:


Below you will find a gallery of incredibly fast and expensive airplanes breaking the sound barrier and thus travelling at supersonic speeds. That means they are going faster than 343 meters per second (1,125 ft per second). To enhance the gallery, just try and imagine the sound that would (eventually) accompany such a sighting. The vapour trails and moisture that appear around the airplanes also add a great touch to these amazing photos. Enjoy!

airplane breaking the sound barrier
Pacific Ocean (Nov. 5, 2006) – An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to the “Diamondbacks” of Strike Fighter Squadron One Zero Two (VFA-102) completes a super-sonic flyby as part of an air power demonstration for visitors aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63). VFA-102 is one of the nine squadrons and detachments assigned to Carrier Air Wing Five (CVW-5) and embarked aboard Kitty Hawk. Kitty Hawk and CVW-5 is currently deployed off the coast of southern Japan on a scheduled deployment. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jarod Hodge.


airplane breaking the sound barrier looking from below
GULF OF ALASKA (June 22, 2009) An Air Force F-22 Raptor executes a supersonic flyby over the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). John C. Stennis is participating in Northern Edge 2009, a joint exercise focusing on detecting and tracking units at sea, in the air and on land. (U.S. Navy photo by Sonar Technician (Surface) 1st Class Ronald Dejarnett).


breaking the sound barrier view from the nose of the plane
ATLANTIC OCEAN (April 17, 2008) Capt. Norbert “Smurf” Szarleta, commanding officer of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17, breaks the sound barrier in an F/A-18F Super Hornet strike fighter during an air power demonstration aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) on 17 April 2008. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Yeoman Augustine Cooper.


breaking sound barrier while making high speed pass from side angle
PACIFIC OCEAN (Aug. 24, 2007) – An F/A-18C Hornet, from the “Argonauts” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147, breaks the sound barrier while making a high-speed pass close to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) during an air power demonstration. The air power demonstration showed the capability of Stennis and Carrier Air Wing 9 to service members’ family and friends who were invited to get underway with the ship. Stennis is returning to the United States after a 7.5-month-long deployment promoting peace, regional cooperation and stability and supporting the global war on terrorism. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ron Reeves.


closeup shot of an airplane going supersonic
NORFOLK, Virginia (June 2, 2007)- An F/A-18C Hornet attached to the “Raging Bulls” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 37 punches through a cloud of water vapour while breaking the sound barrier during an air power demonstration on board the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). Truman Sailors brought over 4000 guests on board for a day-long Friends and Family Day cruise on June 2. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kristopher Wilson.


head on view of an airplane going supersonic
SOUTH CHINA SEA (April 3, 2007) – An F/A-18C Hornet, assigned to the “Fist of the Fleet” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 25, breaks the sound barrier while performing a supersonic flyby of USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) during an air power demonstration. The air power demonstration was performed by Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14 and featured participation from each of the eight squadrons assigned to CVW-14. Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group is underway in support of operations in the western Pacific. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Aaron Burden.


super hornet going supersonic speed from the side view
San Diego (Oct. 15, 2006) – An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to the “Screaming Eagles” of Strike Fighter Squadron One Two Two (VFA-122), flown by Lt. Matt Turner, pushes the limits of the sound barrier during a performance at the Miramar Air Show on board Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. This year’s air show was themed “The Sound of Freedom: Celebrating the Blue Angels’ 60th Anniversary”, showcasing military and civilian aircraft and static displays. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Scott Taylor.


view from back right side of airplane going supersonic speed
East China Sea (Sept. 11, 2006) – An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to Carrier Air Wing Five breaks the sound barrier during an air power demonstration practice aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63). Currently underway in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR), Kitty Hawk demonstrates power projection and sea control as the U.S. Navy’s only permanently forward-deployed aircraft carrier. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Joshua Wayne LeGrand.


breaking the sound barrier near the uss kitty hawk
Pacific Ocean (Aug. 17, 2005) – An F/A-18C Hornet, assigned to the “Golden Dragons” of Strike Fighter Squadron One Nine Two (VFA-192), breaks the sound barrier near the conventionally powered aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63). Kitty Hawk and embarked Carrier Air Wing Five (CVW-5) are currently returning to their homeport after a scheduled deployment in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Jonathan Chandler.


hornet doing a flyover at supersonic speed
Atlantic Ocean (June 9, 2004) – An F/A-18 Hornet, assigned to the “Marauders” from Strike Fighter Squadron Eight Two (VFA-82), piloted by Lt. Cmdr. James Montgomery, of Yukon, Okla., reaches the sound barrier during a supersonic flyby over USS Enterprise (CVN 65). Enterprise is one of seven aircraft carriers involved in Summer Pulse 2004. Summer Pulse 2004 is the simultaneous deployment of seven aircraft carrier strike groups (CSGs), demonstrating the ability of the Navy to provide credible combat power across the globe, in five theatres with other U.S., allied, and coalition military forces. Summer Pulse is the Navy’s first deployment under its new Fleet Response Plan (FRP). U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Milosz Reterski.


f14 tomcat going supersonic from the front view
Mediterranean Sea (Apr. 22, 2003) - An F-14B Tomcat assigned to the “Swordsmen” of Fighter Squadron Thirty Seven (VF-32) reaches the sound barrier during a low altitude super sonic fly by, during an air wing flight demonstration for the crew aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). Truman and Carrier Air Wing Three (CVW-3) are currently deployed conducting combat missions in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the multinational coalition effort to liberate the Iraqi people, eliminate Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and end the regime of Saddam Hussein. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate Airman Justin S. Osborne.


f22 raptor breaking the sound barrier from below
GULF OF ALASKA (June 22, 2009) - An Air Force F-22 Raptor executes a supersonic flyby over the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). John C. Stennis is participating in Northern Edge 2009, a joint exercise focusing on detecting and tracking units at sea, in the air and on land. (U.S. Navy photo by Sonar Technician (Surface) 1st Class Ronald Dejarnett).


two planes breaking the sound barrier at mach 1 at the same time
Pacific Ocean (Jan. 29, 2004) – Lt. Col. William “Chester” Waldron, Commanding Officer of the “Black Knights” of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron Three One Four (VMFA-314) performs a supersonic fly-by for Columbia’s Visual effects unit, while filming for the upcoming motion picture production “Stealth” on board USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). The Bremerton, Wash.-based nuclear powered aircraft carrier is currently underway for the first time since returning from an eight and half month western pacific deployment. Carl Vinson is conducting training with Carrier Air Wing Nine (CVW-9) and units of the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group (CSG). U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate Airman Chris M. Valdez.


Atlantic Ocean (Jul. 26, 2003) - An F/A-18 Hornet, assigned to the “Bulls” of Strike Fighter Squadron Thirty Seven (VFA-37) performs a sonic boom by breaking the sound barrier during a Friends and Family Day Cruise aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Danny Ewing Jr.


super hornet going mach 1
MEDITERRENEAN SEA (July 9, 2010) -  An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to the Jolly Rogers of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 103 breaks the sound barrier during an air power demonstration above aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). The Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group is deployed as a part of an on-going rotation of forward-deployed forces to support maritime security operations in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Albert K. Jones).


Mediterranean Sea (Mar. 30, 2005) – An F-14B Tomcat, assigned to the “Swordsmen” of Fighter Squadron Three Two (VF-32), breaks the sound barrier during the supersonic fly-by portion of an air power demonstration performed by Carrier Air Wing Three (CVW-3), for the Sailors and Marines aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group was recently relieved after completing nearly four months in the Persian Gulf in support of the Global War on Terrorism. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Justin S. Osborne.


plane going supersonic mach 1 amongst clouds
PACIFIC OCEAN (May 31, 2011) - An F/A-18C Hornet assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 113 breaks the sound barrier over the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) during an air power demonstration. Carl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 are underway in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class James R. Evans).


hornet going mach 1 from the side angle


sonic boom from f18 hornet
PACIFIC OCEAN (June 3, 2011) - An F/A-18C Hornet assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 113 breaks the sound barrier during an air power demonstration over the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). Carl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 are underway in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Travis K. Mendoza).


low pass at supersonic speed
PACIFIC OCEAN (June 6, 2011) - An F/A-18C Hornet assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 113 breaks the sound barrier during an air power demonstration over the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). Carl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 are currently underway in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Travis K. Mendoza).


[Source: Twisted Sifter. Edited. Top image added.]


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