Sound Barrier: The Rocky Road to MACH 1.0+

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Pen and Sword, Oct 30, 2006 - History - 224 pages
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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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Contents

1 The Pioneers
1
2 A Quest for Speed
11
3 Trouble Ahead
20
4 Problems with Compressibility
29
5 Early Allied Jets
45
6 Jet and Rocket Engine Development
56
7 Germany Shows the Way
64
8 Meteoric Records
79
11 Flying the DH108
115
12 Fighter Development in the USSR and France
126
13 The USA Forges Ahead
145
14 Britain Lags Behind
159
15 Better Late Than Never
189
Glossary
202
Bibliography
204
Index
206

9 The Miles M52 Fiasco
89
10 The Barrier is Broken
103

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