Aeronautics: Boom & Bust

It sounded like artillery fire rolling in over the rocky desert floor, but the sonic booms generated by the F-104 Starfighters did nothing more than rattle the windows of the 18 buildings spread out over five acres at White Sands Missile Range, N. Mex. The first pass by a Starfighter produced a shock of 4 Ibs. per square foot of overpressure.* Another boom was boosted to 6 Ibs. per square foot, and subsequent booms raised the overpressure to as high as 10 Ibs. per square foot. But nothing broke. Officials of the Federal Aviation Agency began to break out in...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!