One year, to shake it up a little, General Yeager decided the fly the P-51 for the Edwards AFB Air Show. The person who was supposed to do the sonic boom didn’t show so the Commander, a General, decided he would do it in his F-15
General Yeager pulled him aside – they were friends of sorts – and told him it was a perfect day to see the shockwave which causes the sonic boom and the best way to assure this is to punch it to at least 1.4.
Having never done an air show or considered the audience seeing a shockwave, he responded with attitude: “You don’t have to tell me – I know how to do it.”
Be my guest.
Well, since the P-51 hadn’t shown up either, General Yeager and I were sitting in the VIP area with CA State Senator/US Congressman Pete Knight and his wife, wonderful people, when the Commander flew by.
We heard a very soft Pffft. We all looked around. Was that the “sonic boom” to open the air show?
General Yeager, more experienced than the rest of us of course, recognized the situation, and created levity exclaiming,
“Hell! I can hear a gnat fart louder than that!”
The Commander’s wife laughed and said, “His job security for after retirement just went down the tubes,” meaning he won’t be asked to come back to open the air show again.
Needless to say, no one saw the shockwaves.
Later, the Commander was disappointed of course and a little embarrassed.
Much later, at dinner, the Commander said his people heard it in the housing area and said it was loud.
I replied, “They work for you. Of course they did. Duty.”