Cathy and I both heard it and felt it and went “what the…” together then both recognized it as an experience from our youth as the sound barrier was broken above us. It is a powerful combination of sound and tactile. Like a distant large explosion accompanied by a very mild earthquake-like rumble. Growing up in the greater metro NYC area, we both had experienced this effect of a jet overhead flying faster than sound can travel. Reflecting now as to why our Government would choose to do this testing over such a densely populated area makes me think it was good cold war marketing to the population as the US progressed in aeronautic prowess in the late 1950’s. Let the public hear and feel that the US is winning. It happened to us here, in Alamogordo, NM as there are two local government “attractions”, Holloman Air Force Base and the White Sands Missile Range both good at having fun with the air. New Mexico is at the heart of our nation’s history of putting things so much heavier than air up into it. Wide open topography and benign, clear desert weather are conducive to the human desire to grow wings.
NASA is here along with the New Mexico Museum of Space History, which is home to the grave of Ham, the first chimp in space. Yes, we did that. Sent a monkey up into space before we’d risk sending a human.
Our recent visit to family, flying via Albuquerque to Sacramento, reminded me of New Mexico’s aviation history. ABQ is a very nice airport. It is well situated on a plateau and has fine views of wide open spaces. They named it “the Sunport”. It was built with a Southwest architectural theme and houses a display of over 500 models of various aircraft that have all played a role in this state’s history of conquering gravity. Here are a few pics of the airport’s main lobby ceiling, a light fixture and the airplane model display.