Flight Test Engineer Jacob Schaefer inspects the Cockpit Interactive Sonic Boom Display Avionics (CISBoomDA) from the cockpit of his F-18. (NASA Photo by Ken Ulbrich)

NASA pilots flying supersonic aircraft now have a display that tells them exactly where sonic booms are hitting the ground. The display provided NASA research pilots the ability to physically see their sonic footprint on a map as the boom occurred. With the ability to observe the location of their aircraft’s sonic booms, pilots can better keep the loud percussive sounds from disturbing communities on the ground.

The algorithm on which the software is based is also being used by two companies to develop similar displays, with more of a predictive element. Honeywell Aerospace and Rockwell Collins are both working with NASA to develop displays with predictive capabilities that could see where sonic boom locations would be on the ground, based on a planned flightpath.