Shockwave visible from cabin?

ImbracableCrunk

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Today I was commuting home on a 757 and I was sitting in the exit row, over the wing.

I thought I saw something in the window, and malformation or something, but then I noticed it was moving forward and aft, may a few feet from the window. It looked kinda like a clear ribbon.

Not only that, but we were flying eastbound, and the shadow of the fuselage was on the wing. I saw a shadow/refraction of the shockwave from the fuselage, as well.

Now, I know I'm crazy (I'm an airline pilot) but was I hallucinating from my red-eye or has anyone else seen this?
 

PeanuckleCRJ

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I've heard its possible to see it....never have personally seen it before, though.


"there's something on the wing...some.....thing!"
 

crj567

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You probably did see a shock wave. There are parts of the wing that go transonic at well below mach speeds on many airliners.

I have a cousin who showed me a pretty neat video a few yrs ago... He works for a major and is an engineer of some sort....

Anyhow, this airline was taking delivery of a plane and flying it to the main hub. He shot some video of this trans-sonic stuff happening out on the wing in flight. In the video you could see all sorts of neat shock waves and spider-web-looking stuff out on the wing. The plane was pretty much empty-just him plus the pilots, so it was going a little faster than normal cruise when he filmed this stuff.
 

ImbracableCrunk

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Huh, I just found a video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duCHFaWm-ms

For some reason, I thought you had to have Schlieren filters or whatever they did to see them. I didn't think you could see them with the naked eye.
 

~~~^~~~

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Used to see them frequently on L1011's.
 

ofacegangsta

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You crossed the gay-sonic barrier. I wished I had your commute if I was staring at the wing.
 

LR60BOY

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Saw it in a Falcon 900 the other day. Ran almost the whole length of the wing.
 

islandhoper

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Yup, you can see it often on the 737 with winglets if the moisture is just right. You can see it balancing back and forth as the wing goes through slight bumbs...
 

C-150ETOPS

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757? Yep, seen it a couple of times. Saw it more often on a 727.

Now for some more trivia. We had the Concorde pass us once, and we felt the sonic boom. Not real loud, more like a little thud on the outside fuselage.
 

ACL65PILOT

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Yep, you do see it on most transport category wings. It is the shock wave associated with wind speed over the wing just below and above the speed of sound.
 

Erlanger

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Today I was commuting home on a 757 and I was sitting in the exit row, over the wing.

I thought I saw something in the window, and malformation or something, but then I noticed it was moving forward and aft, may a few feet from the window. It looked kinda like a clear ribbon.

Not only that, but we were flying eastbound, and the shadow of the fuselage was on the wing. I saw a shadow/refraction of the shockwave from the fuselage, as well.

Now, I know I'm crazy (I'm an airline pilot) but was I hallucinating from my red-eye or has anyone else seen this?
Are you sure it wasn't moisture coming off the wing causing that to look that way?
 

Linedriver

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I've seen it too. Seem to see more after a night of hard drinking.

I wonder if that's significant.
 

ACL65PILOT

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I've seen it too. Seem to see more after a night of hard drinking.

I wonder if that's significant.
Nope it is normal. Nothing to worry about. It is the center of pressure shifting with the transonic flow.
 

Linedriver

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No, it was a....

Nevermind, noone ever believes me.
 

Linedriver

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Nope it is normal. Nothing to worry about. It is the center of pressure shifting with the transonic flow.

Crap, I'm glad to know that! I thought it was just me and was going to cut back!

That was a close one!
 
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