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Q & A: Faster than the Speed of Sound!

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
If your travelling at or above the speed of sound, can you hear yourself or others talk?
- Robert Bennett (age 16)
QLD
A:
Robert -

Actually, so long as you aren't travelling with your head sticking out of the plane (which would be a very bad idea), you can hear just fine. This is because the air in the plane is moving with you. The speed of sound is actually the speed that soundwaves travel with respect to the air. From the perspective of a person sitting inside the plane, it seems like the air is standing still, since the air is moving at the same speed as the plane. So soundwaves will travel normally within the plane. Strange things like sonic booms only happen when you're dealing with the air on the outside, which doesn't move as fast as the plane.

-Tamara

(published on 10/22/2007)

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