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​​What is a Sonic Boom and How is it Produced?

Aircraft are designed to fly at very high speeds. While they fly, aircraft generate pressure waves, or sound. These pressure waves travel at the speed of sound, about 750 miles per hour. When an aircraft flies faster than the speed of sound (Mach 1.0), it creates a sonic boom. A sonic boom is a loud thunderous sound caused by a large buildup of pressure waves. The sonic boom trailing behind a supersonic airplane is very similar to the V-shaped wake a speedboat makes in a large body of water. When a jet flies by at supersonic speed, the sonic boom sound you hear on the ground is the "wake" of the supersonic jet flying by. Currently, there are no civil supersonic aircraft flying today.