Science: Mach 1.1

Last week Test Pilot John Derry was flying De Havilland's experimental DH-108 at 40,000 feet over southern England. The weather was clear, the "machometer" (speed indicator in fractions of the speed of sound) showed Mach .86. Derry felt just right, so he opened the throttle and turned the nose down.

As the speed of the dive increased, the machometer needle crept up to Mach 1, the speed of sound. Then it went on up to Mach 1.1. The controls felt heavy, but nothing really unpleasant happened. Derry checked the speed and leveled off. He...

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