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Faster Than Sound

Program Overview


Until fifty years ago, a speed limit called the sound barrier ruled the skies. Pilots who attempted to fly near the speed of sound experienced unexpected conditions—increase in drag, loss of lift and control, and violent shaking—which often led to planes crashing. In 1947, pilot Chuck Yeager flew an aircraft through the sound barrier and lived to tell about it, making the sound barrier no longer a barrier after all. NOVA explores the human, historical, technological, and political issues surrounding the effort to design airplanes able to safely fly faster than the speed of sound and investigates the scientists and pilots who tested these limits.

Teacher's Guide
Faster Than Sound
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