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Mythbusters, Blue Angels come to Yuma range

By Lance Cpl. Graham J. Benson | | February 26, 2009

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The “Mythbusters” teamed up with the Blue Angels and Marines here Feb. 18-20, 2009, on the Barry M. Goldwater Range to test whether a sonic boom from a jet would shatter glass.

The Blue Angels made multiple passes at different altitudes to test the effects on glass in a car, a house and various glassware.

A sonic boom, which sounds and feels like a large explosion, occurs when an aircraft breaks the sound barrier by traveling at least 750 mph.

“I came up with the idea of getting ‘Mythbusters’ to test the theory about a year ago,” said Capt. Tyson Dunkelberger, Blue Angels’ public affairs officer. “They were busy filming at the time, but we tried again six months ago and now we’re finally here working with them.”

To test the myth, the crew built a small shed with a window, parked a car nearby with the windows rolled up and set up glassware on a table.

Two Blue Angels F/A-18 Hornets then zipped over the test area, directing the sonic boom toward the ground as they passed.

“Mythbusters” co-host, Jamie Hyneman, stayed on the ground at the site, while his partner, Adam Savage, rode in one of the jets.

The theory was tested with the Blue Angels flying at elevations of 8,000, 2,000, 500 and 200 feet.

Yuma’s Goldwater Range was selected as the test site because it contains an authorized supersonic flight corridor.

“The only places that we could have done this were here or offshore in the Pacific,” said Dunkelberger. “Obviously the range was much more practical.”

This was the show’s first experience working with the Marine Corps.

“Working with sailors and Marines has been a great experience,” said Hyneman. “It’s nice to work with people who are so on the ball and dependable.”

Events like this are part of the Blue Angels public relations mission.

“Our role is to represent and promote the Navy and Marine Corps in the best possible way,” said Dunkelberger. “An event like this is a great public relations opportunity. If we can inspire someone watching the show to think about joining the military, then the Blue Angels have done their job.” 

So was the myth busted? Viewers will have to wait until the episode airs June 10, 2009, at 9 p.m. EST on The Discovery Channel, to find out.


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