Another triangular aircraft, this time in Kansas [B2 Bomber]

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I suspect that the "straight" trailing edge might be a bit of an optical illusion, and it's actually a B2

 
One commentator on Doubtful News brought up the possibility that the triangle is actually a visible shockwave, and the actual shape of the plane is not discernible. My cursory search of google turned up no naked-eye examples of this, but it would be cool if correct.
 

Svartbjørn

Senior Member.
This is what I thought of when I first saw it Charles:




Now.. granted., thats only an F-18, and Id hazard a guess that the bird in that top picture is a LOT bigger, but the shape reminds me of a sonic boom.. Ive just never seen one last that long unless they were staying JUST below the envelope's threshold.
 

WeedWhacker

Senior Member
do contrails stay the same through a sonic boom?

That is a very interesting question. I'm inclined to think the sonic shockwave would disrupt contrail formation stability, but only a guess.

However, in the narrative on the story it was mentioned that the jet was "absolutely silent"...and exceeding Mach 1 causes a significant noise.
Also, it is not allowed over the contiguous 48 states (and in many other jurisdictions globally) unless as an emergency arises. (Such as active air defense needs, for example).

About the "silent" mention...could also simply be its altitude. For instance, regular commercial flights at cruising altitudes are usually "silent" as well. Unless the observer was in a very, very quiet locale...such as deep in the desert, the sound often cannot be distinguished.
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.

 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member


Hmm, I think that has been manually enhanced, meaning someone drew over it what they thought they saw. I'm still going with B2.
 

Svartbjørn

Senior Member.
That is a very interesting question. I'm inclined to think the sonic shockwave would disrupt contrail formation stability, but only a guess.

However, in the narrative on the story it was mentioned that the jet was "absolutely silent"...and exceeding Mach 1 causes a significant noise.
Also, it is not allowed over the contiguous 48 states (and in many other jurisdictions globally) unless as an emergency arises. (Such as active air defense needs, for example).

About the "silent" mention...could also simply be its altitude. For instance, regular commercial flights at cruising altitudes are usually "silent" as well. Unless the observer was in a very, very quiet locale...such as deep in the desert, the sound often cannot be distinguished.

From what Ive seen of Supersonic AC hovering JUST at the edge of the envelope, I dont think itll interrupt it.. I know that once it passes through the envelope, everything smooths back out and you can see them again if the conditions are right.
 

Balance

Senior Member.
A word about appearing silent. I'm sure I don't have to remind you all how light travels so much faster than sound. It too me a while as a kid to work out why sometimes I'd hear a jet passing overhead but never see it. (It's why I used to learn to spot their contrails first)

Obviously the further the object the longer the sound lags and if there's an opposing breeze or crosswind, it may never arrive at a level you could hear.
 

Jason

Senior Member
This is what I thought of when I first saw it Charles:




Now.. granted., thats only an F-18, and Id hazard a guess that the bird in that top picture is a LOT bigger, but the shape reminds me of a sonic boom.. Ive just never seen one last that long unless they were staying JUST below the envelope's threshold.
And the bow shock in this F-18 photo is in the tail end of the plane, but in Charles's photo is appears to be at the nose of the plane. Is that even possible? Do bow shocks form at the nose of the plane?
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
What leaves you to believe that Mick?

It's bright green. But only in that area. No pixels outside the area are green, hence the area must have been selected somehow. Since there's no distinct bottom edge, it's almost certain this was done manually.

There is no back edge visible in the photo. Statistically the area of the back edge is identical to the surrounding image. It's an illusion that there's a back line:
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
I can see the suggestion of one, not that defined though and the only indent I can make out seems to be in the centre. Smoothing the picture and changing the sepia tone seems to help.
 

Jason

Senior Member
It's bright green. But only in that area. No pixels outside the area are green, hence the area must have been selected somehow. Since there's no distinct bottom edge, it's almost certain this was done manually.

There is no back edge visible in the photo. Statistically the area of the back edge is identical to the surrounding image. It's an illusion that there's a back line:
What is the white edge on the left from? I must say when you zoom in the photo degrades totally and the image appears to disappear from view besides the leading white edge. In the photo on the top left you can just barely make out that the bottom right part of the wing extends on like you would expect in a photo of the B2
 

Jazzy

Closed Account
Any matt black aircraft will be almost invisible at great height. They are like black cats in coal holes. Sunlight striking the atmosphere scatters blue light between you and them. The unlit face of a daytime Moon disappears completely for the same reason. Although we know it's black, it reads as blue.

And snow-capped mountains at great distance do too. Just white shapes in the sky with no visible means of support.

During the day, the B2's great difficulty is the horizon, which is bright and white and bound to reflect a little off its leading edge when viewed from beneath and behind. At night, all is hunky-dory.

Except that low frequency long wave radar ("Chain Home" UK, 1940) can still see it.
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
What is the white edge on the left from? I must say when you zoom in the photo degrades totally and the image appears to disappear from view besides the leading white edge. In the photo on the top left you can just barely make out that the bottom right part of the wing extends on like you would expect in a photo of the B2

It's lit from the front.
 

Svartbjørn

Senior Member.
And the bow shock in this F-18 photo is in the tail end of the plane, but in Charles's photo is appears to be at the nose of the plane. Is that even possible? Do bow shocks form at the nose of the plane?

Thats because its a shot of the 18 AS its breaking the sound barrier Jason.. there are tons of photos (and Ive seen it in person) of F-18s just entering the envelope, the wave starts forming at the nose and starts to move backwards towards the engine intakes. Pilots can hold that speed for quite a while.. but they usually only do that for airshows
 

Ross Marsden

Senior Member.
And the bow shock in this F-18 photo is in the tail end of the plane, but in Charles's photo is appears to be at the nose of the plane. Is that even possible? Do bow shocks form at the nose of the plane?
Thats because its a shot of the 18 AS its breaking the sound barrier Jason.. there are tons of photos (and Ive seen it in person) of F-18s just entering the envelope, the wave starts forming at the nose and starts to move backwards towards the engine intakes. Pilots can hold that speed for quite a while.. but they usually only do that for airshows

A description of what's going on there can be found at: Vapor cone.

Basically,

 

KC-10FE

Senior Member.
Isn't that how one of the planes were brought down over Yugoslavia or something similar to using cell towers?

That was a F117 Nighthawk that got shot down. Interesting article from the guys that shot it down.

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/world/2005-10-26-serb-stealth_x.htm


People sometimes forget that stealth aircraft cannot evade radar completely

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stealth_aircraft
While no aircraft is totally invisible to radar, stealth aircraft make it difficult for conventional radar to detect or track the aircraft effectively, increasing the odds of a successful attack. Stealth is the combination of passive low observable (LO) features and active emitters such as Low Probability of Intercept Radars, radios and laser designators. These are usually combined with active defenses such as chaff, flares, and ECM.[6] It is accomplished by using a complex design philosophy to reduce the ability of an opponent's sensors to detect, track, or attack the stealth aircraft.[7] This philosophy also takes into account the heat, sound, and other emissions of the aircraft as these can also be used to locate it.
 

Jazzy

Closed Account
Thats because its a shot of the 18 AS its breaking the sound barrier Jason.
There is a popular misconception (initially promulgated by 50s Hollywood and UK films) that the bow shock wave is only formed momentarily as the aircraft penetrates this new regime.

Nothing could be further from the truth. As a plane enters the regime the bow shock progressively increases in intensity and moves back towards the region of maximum cross-sectional area, where it stays, with a sharpening angle.

In truth you only hear it momentarily as the wavefront passes you.

A Mach 2 shockwave will be at least four times more energetic than a Mach 1 shockwave at the same distance away. I am reminded of that recent Russian asteroid at a height of fifty miles. Some distance - some power. Not momentary at all, but obviously and visibly being created for quite a few seconds.
 
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JRBids

Senior Member.
I thought it was the Stealth Bomber when I first saw the photo. I live maybe 2 miles from what used to be Grumman and I'll never forget the first time I suddenly caught a glimpse of one flying over my house. I thought I would have a coronary.
 
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