The Discovery of High-Speed Manned Flight and Mach

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This report analyses and discusses the discovery of high-speed manned flight and ‘Mach’ - in particular research and aviation breakthroughs relating to the specified topics. High-speed speed flight is technically defined as ‘flight near, but below the speed of sound’ [1A]. This begins at an airspeed of around 250 mph, or 400 kph. Properties regarding the airflow around an object at low speed or below this threshold of 400 kph are relatively straightforward, and can be compared to that of an aircraft moving through a body of water. This is due to the negligible change in air density at these speeds, and conducting calculations without factoring in the compression yield remain accurate. However as the speed surpasses 400kph, some of the energy from the aircraft is used to compress the air in front - increasing the air density in a local area around the object[2A]. This is known as “compressibility”, and is a key factor in high speed flight. The pilot of an aircraft such as a Cessna with a top speed of 302 kph can ignore compressibility altogether, however faster aircraft must be able to factor this in. Ernst Mach and Christian Doppler, are among the main contributors regarding research and theoretical work towards the current understanding of supersonic flight. In 1842 Christian Doppler proposed the widely known “Doppler Effect”. He theorised that if the source of a sound that is emitted is moving towards the observer, the frequency of the sound will increase due the sound waves emitted being closer together in the medium they travel through - in Earth’s most common scenario air. For the source travelling away from the observer, the inverse is true. This can be directly related to the effect of compression that air undergoes in f... ... middle of paper ... ...f sound. Jettisoned from the bomb bay of a B-29 ‘Flying Fortress’ travelling at 400 kph, Yeager advanced with his plane through the transonic range up to Mach 1.06 (1,300 kph), at an altitude of 43,000 ft. Chuck reported extreme buffeting before breaking through into a quiet environment, with regained control and no buffeting. The sound barrier had been conquered. BIBLIOGRAPHY 1A - , Para 35. 2A - , Para 1. Lockheed P-38 Lightning 4A - Swatton, Peter J. 2010, Principles of Flight for Pilots, e-book, accessed 21 May 2014, Page 207 . 5A -
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