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Q & A: Supersonic airplanes

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
What plane is faster than the speed of sound?
- Felix (age 15)
Ripon High
A:
Many airplanes can fly faster than the speed of sound in air. The very first was Bell Aircraft Corporation's X-1 plane, flown at faster than the speed of sound on October 14, 1947, by Chuck Yeager, who became famous for this feat. Since then, lots of planes have been built which can exceed the speed of sound in air. Just about all of the military fighter craft in the world can travel at supersonic speeds (although support craft such as cargo planes, tankers, bombers, radar planes and spy planes, etc. usually go slower).

Commercial and private aircraft almost all go slower than the speed of sound. One exception to this is the Concorde supersonic passenger jet, flown by British Airways and Air France. Flying it may be losing money for those airlines and so I am not sure for how much longer it will continue operation, but that's the way it stands today.

Tom

(published on 10/22/2007)

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