Standing Shock Photos

All these were taken with a digital camera from the window by my seat on some trips in spring 1999. The aircraft were at cruising altitude and speed (which I didn't note, but should have been in the mid-thirty thousands of feet of altitude; speed should have been near the nominal cruising speeds for the aircraft in question, as we were not late or trying to make up time, nor was there any unusual weather.) Some of the shadows and such on the pictures are artifacts from the lack of clarity on the windows, but I'm quite sure that the lines I describe below were the shadows of the shocks - they all moved every time the wings flexed.

The sun was fairly high in the sky on both occasions, and shining on the wing from the south each time (so it was close to directly abeam of the aircraft), both of which I believe helped create stronger than average shadows of the shocks.

Boeing 767

Flying westbound, port wing (facing south). Red arrows were edited into the photos to help point out the shocks.

  1. Whole wing: the small segment of the shock you can see here runs approximately parallel to the leading edge (which is off to the right), a bit to the right of the large red arrow.
  2. Inboard detail: a detail closer inboard(the shock is visible just to the right of the arrow.) There's another fainter one, not connected, just visible above and to the right of the first one.

Airbus 320

Flying eastbound, starboard wing (facing south). There are no arrows in these, since the shocks are quite visible.

  1. Whole wing: the shock shadow runs along almost the entire leading edge of the inboard flaps, all the way inboard to the bottom of the photo, where it breaks up into several distinct branches.
  2. Inboard detail: in this shot the shocks have moved forward of the flap leading edges (you will probably have to scroll the photo over to the right to find them.) There are two shadows, running approximately parallel to the large black line, and to the left (forward) of the first line of rivets.
  3. Another inboard detail: the shock has moved yet again; towards the top of the photo, the shocks are near the leading edge of the flaps, and then as you move down (inboard) the shocks move forward and split up several times until they're well onto the main wing.

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Date last modified: 1999-Sep-27
Copyright 1999 Anne R. LaVin
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