Can planes go faster than sound?

Of course. That's what's meant by the terms "supersonic" and "breaking th sound barrier". The first pilot known to have broken the sound barrier was renowned test pilot Chuck Yeager who flew a Bell X-1 rocket plane specially constructed for the task in 1947. The speed of sound through air, also called "Mach 1", is approximately 332 m/s at normal air density at room temperature. By definition, a Mach number is a ratio of the speed of a body, like an aircraft, to the speed of sound in the medium through which the body is traveling. It is said that an aircraft is flying at Mach 1 if its speed is equal to the speed of sound in air (which is 332 m/s or 1195 km/hr or 717 miles/hour.) Mach 2 is approximately 664 m/s.

Many modern military aircraft are supersonic

Yes, since the successful flight of the Bell X-1 on Oct 14th, 1947 by Chuck Yeager.

The X-1A was able to ultimately fly up to 1,600 miles per hour (over Mach 2.4), and the fastest recorded "plane" is probably the X-15, which still holds the record at Mach 6.7 and over 100,000 feet. This was set back in 1967~!

The Space Shuttle would be falling at 17,000 mph during it's re-entry phase, but since that is really "falling" due to the pull of gravity, that is not considered sustained, self-powered flight in the horizontal plane.

The constraint on supersonic flight in the atmosphere is always air molecule drag on the fuselage, which translates into Heat.

The Concorde had a very smart system of using the many fuel tanks as a kind of radiator, where fuel was pumped around different parts of the plane as the center of gravity shifted, and the cooler fuel was used to aid in heat dissipation. The entire airframe stretched out during supersonic flight, so the interior had to have a system of airframe design that allowed for that - allegedly almost a foot!

So when you look at Hypersonic flight, beyond just Supersonic flight, the enemy is always the Heat, and thus any design must either fly at or above the Stratopause, or be comprised of some unbelievable metallurgy that can withstand that heat.

Yes, lots of planes can/could.

Concorde was the only commercial plane to go faster than sound, but many military planes can:

  • Tornado
  • Mig 31
  • Mig 27
  • Mig 19
  • F22
  • F35
  • F14
  • F15
  • F16
  • Mirage III, IV, G, 2000, etc
  • etc etc etc

List of supersonic aircraft - Wikipedia

[edit]Also, the Tupolev Tu-144 was the Russian equivalent of Concorde, so was also a commercial supersonic jet

Can planes go faster than sound?

Yes they can. But the energy required is such that it is seldom worth it. From a passenger perspective, the time saved will only really benifit those whose time is extremely valuable or ego extremely delicate.

From a military perspective. A warplane that can go supersonic has a definate advantage in combat. But that combat, win lose or draw is going to be very short and will be resolved very quickly. Mike Heaton

Of course they can go faster than sound. It's light speed they can't get anywhere near. The first supersonic flight was in 1948 and there have been lots of supersonic military planes, as listed by Mr Smith, plus the Concorde commercial flights from 1976 through 2003. There are a few companies now teasing another generation of supersonic commercial and business jets, but none are on the market...

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