Military Aviation

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the first supersonic flight, USAF and NASA Jets will compete to determine which will be first to go supersonic during Edwards AFB Airshow

The event will commemorate the 75th anniversaries of the Air Force and the first supersonic flight, by then-Capt. Chuck Yeager in the skies over Edwards AFB.

Edwards Air Force Base (AFB) will hold its first airshow for the first time in 13 years on Oct. 15 and 16. Besides the US Air Force (USAF), NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center will be participating as well, Alert 5 first noted.

According to, headlining the free two-day event will be the Air Force Thunderbirds flight demonstration team. They will be joined by a vast array of aerial performance and static displays representing nearly every aircraft in the USAF inventory, Chase Kohler of the 412th Public Affairs office said.

“It’s a rare opportunity to get pretty much every aircraft in the Air Force inventory either in the air or on the ground,” he said.

The F-22, F-35, T-38, F-16, B-1 and B-52 bombers and KC-135 tanker are among the aircraft expected. NASA will also be providing a number of aircraft.

The event will commemorate the 75th anniversaries of the Air Force and the first supersonic flight, by then-Capt. Chuck Yeager in the skies over Edwards AFB.

As we have already explained, Chuck Yeager used to open the Edwards AFB Airshow with a sonic boom. He flew in a USAF fighter jet and kicked off the show with a very nice pass.

Yeager was chosen to fly the secret Bell X-1 experimental aircraft, built to test the capabilities of the human pilot and a fixed-wing aircraft against the severe aerodynamic stresses of sonic flight. On Oct. 14, 1947, over Rogers Dry Lake in southern California, he rode the X-1, attached to a B-29 mother ship, to an altitude of 25,000 feet (7,600 metres). The X-1 then rocketed separately to 40,000 feet (12,000 metres), and Yeager became the first man to break the sound barrier, which was approximately 662 miles (1,066 km) per hour at that altitude.

He passed away on Dec. 8, 2020.

To celebrate that first sonic boom and take advantage of holding a rare air show beneath a supersonic corridor, the air show will feature Air Force and NASA jets “going full steam” to see which can break the sound barrier first.

“We want to heighten that and showcase that, because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime for air shows to be able to actually go past Mach .99 and actually hit that sonic boom,” Kohler said.

The crowd will not be able to see the aircraft as they will be at altitude, but “they’re definitely going to hear them and feel them,” he said. “We’re just really excited to showcase that unique part.”

Air Force photo by Chad Bellay.

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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