On Sunday May 2, 2021 the United States Navy Blue Angels performed at the Wings Over South Texas Airshow. Photos and videos across social media show a part where one of the Blue Angels jets blasted across the audience in downtown Corpus Christi speculating on whether they broke the sound barrier.
The particular photo taken by Glenn Madden, shows a shock wave behind a jet as it flew above the Corpus Christi Bay. In order for the cone shaped shock wave to occur, the jet had to be going supersonic speed or at least close to the speed of sound.
One person near the Corpus Christi Yacht Club said they had minor damage to their building. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) tbey do not allow jets to fly at supersonic speed. The boom would be so powerful that it would leave a wave of destruction.
The actual picture of the cone depicted behind the Blue Angel jet is a “vapor cone”. These cones usually occur when jets are accelerating close to the speed of sound and near a body of water. The speed of sound is at 767 miles per hour and the pressure of air changes along with the tempature to transform a cone like shape behind the aircraft.
In a press release by the FAA, supersonic aircraft can only be used by the military or NASA, but have now allowed civil supersonic aircrafts to be built again with noise certifications to be issued first. After consultation with the DOT, to “prescribe and amend standards for the measurement of aircraft noise and sonic boom,” such rules and regulations as the (administrator of the FAA) may find necessary to provide for the control and abatement of aircraft noise and sonic boom.” In 1970, acting under this authority, the FAA proposed a regulation that would restrict operation of civil aircraft at speeds greater than Mach 1 over land, unless authorized by the FAA.