Sound Barrier: The Rocky Road to MACH 1.0+
As the speed of early aircraft gradually increased there eventually became an awareness during the 1940's, that strange things were occurring at around 500mph. Many later WW2 fighter aircraft were reported to become dangerously uncontrollable in high-speed power dives. Pilot's and aircraft designers were beginning to encounter the sound barrier. We now realize it to be a phenomenon that occurs when the speed of sound is reached and air compressibility demands additional power to break through it. Breaking the sound barrier became one of the biggest challenges to the world's aircraft designers and it took great courage and daring for the test-pilots of that era to find the way through this difficult obstacle. This is the story of how innovative design and pilots learned how to deal with supersonic flight. It records the many different experimental aircraft and tells of the experiences of those that flew them. Many pilots lost their lives during those dangerous flights but those who survived became legendary.
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1 The Pioneers
2 A Quest for Speed
3 Trouble Ahead
4 Problems with Compressibility
5 Early Allied Jets
6 Jet and Rocket Engine Development
7 Germany Shows the Way
8 Meteoric Records
9 The Miles M52 Fiasco
10 The Barrier is Broken
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acceleration achieved aerodynamic aileron aircraft airframe airspeed altitude aviation Bell XS-1 Boscombe Britain buffet capable cent chord ratio climb cockpit compressibility degrees Derry drag rise effect elevator elevons eventually Farnborough feet fighter ﬁrst ﬂaps ﬂew ﬂight ﬂow ﬂown ﬂutter ﬂying fuel fuselage Geoffrey de Havilland Gloster handling characteristics Havilland Hawker height high Mach numbers high speed ﬂight increased indicated airspeed jet engine later lb thrust leading edge level ﬂight limiting Mach longitudinal Mach number manoeuvre maximum Messerschmitt Meteor mph IAS nose nose-down performance Philip Jarrett pitch powered ﬂight problems produced programme prototype pull racers ramjet recovery reduced result rocket motor Rolls-Royce rudder Sabre Schneider Trophy Second World Soviet speed of sound speed record Squadron stick forces straight-winged Supermarine supersonic sweep swept wing tail tailplane take-off test pilot throttle top speed transonic trials trim change turbojet undercarriage Vampire vibration