Things are about to get a little louder in Galveston. NASA has announced they have been testing local response to an F/A-18 aircraft briefly going supersonic. This is creating a sonic boom over the coastal city, as NASA hopes to the residents aren’t too bothered with the sound.
The test being done by NASA is to see if they can lower the sound of the sonic boom, in hopes on one day being able to fly rockets over land. How they are doing this is by having the jet perform a dive maneuver. This is supposed to reduce the sonic boom from its normal thunderous boom, to what NASA is calling a “quit thump.”
NASA hopes these test allow them to one day create a muted supersonic plane. What has prevented this is the loud noise the jet would create, often becoming a bother for anyone around. Currently regulations don’t allow for planes that generate a sonic boom to fly over land.
NASA has enlisted 500 surveyors in the Galveston area to report on the loudness of the booms, created by the jet. There have been some reports of rattling windows do to the sonic boom, and some beachgoers thinking there was nearby thunder. However, the majority of those surveyed have reported a medium-volume boom.
The experimental plane is still years away, but the study currently being done in Galveston by NASA, will help bring valuable information on how to quiet down these jets. If it is indeed possible that will mean faster travel in the future. Let’s hope the people of Galveston don’t go deaf from this experiment, and we can see faster planes sooner rather than later.