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Watch: The Air Force Trots Out the Whole Supersonic Aircraft Lineup

This Late 1950’s Vintage Look at Sonic Booms and How They Are Created is a Great Period Piece

Convair B-58 Hustler. Image via USAF

The film “Mission Sonic Boom” was produced in 1959 and explains the phenomenon of sonic booms. Supersonic flight was actually fairly commonplace by the time the film was made. The film features the Convair B-58 Hustler bomber, the North American F-100 Super Sabre fighter, the McDonnell F-101 Voodoo interceptor, the Convair F-102 Delta Dagger interceptor, the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter interceptor, the Republic F-105 Thunderchief fighter bomber, and the Convair F-106 Delta Dart interceptor. The film was uploaded to YouTube by Classic Airliners & Vintage Pop Culture.

F-100 Super Sabre. Image via US Air Force

Navy and Marine Corps aircraft featured in the film include the Douglas F4D-1 Skyray interceptor, the Vought F8U Crusader fighter, and interestingly the Douglas A4D-1 Skyhawk attack jet. The Skyhawk was not a supersonic aircraft. Left out of the film was the other supersonic Navy fighter- the Douglas F11F Tiger fighter. The Air Force continued sonic boom research for many more years. Operation Bongo Mark 2 was a series of supersonic flights over Oklahoma City during 1964 to gauge the effects of regular sonic booms on a population and its infrastructure.

F-8 Crusader. Image via US Navy

After the awe-inspiring B-58 Hustler, the Air Force did not fly another production supersonic bomber until the General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark. Today the Rockwell B-1B Lancer fills the supersonic bomber role. The ultimate Air Force supersonic aircraft was the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird. Another supersonic aircraft to serve with the Air Force in this general time frame was the Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter. Additional Navy and Marine Corps supersonic jets around the time the film was produced include the North American A3J (A-5) Vigilante strategic bomber and the McDonnell Douglas F4H Phantom II fighter-bomber.

F-102A Delta Dagger. Image via USAF


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Bill Walton

Written by Bill Walton

Bill Walton is a life-long aviation enthusiast and expert in aircraft recognition. As a teenager Bill helped his engineer father build an award-winning T-18 homebuilt airplane in their Wisconsin basement. Bill is a freelance writer, an avid sailor, engineer, announcer, husband, father, uncle, mentor, coach, and Navy veteran. Bill lives north of Houston TX with his wife and son under the approach path to KDWH runway 17R, which means they get to look up at a lot of airplanes. A very good thing.

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