Mach Crit and Supercritical Wings

F-18-mach-crit

This F-18 is showing off critical Mach.

Sometime around 1962 aerodynamicists realized there was more that could be done.

More efficiency to gain at speeds near the speed of sound.

But most importantly, the phenomena so iconic in this picture wasn’t fully understood until the mid 1960s.  Sure, wings had been swept and shock waves studied.  And it is no coincidence that the area rule was being noodled around this time.

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