|What is the "sound barrier"? - EL
The "sound barrier" is more a psychological barrier than a real impediment. In the early days of high-speed flight, there was concern that a plane flying at or beyond the speed of sound in air would encounter unanticipated phenomena that would rip it apart. However, when Chuck Yeager finally did exceed the speed of sound for the first time in 1947, he found the transition from subsonic to supersonic uneventful. The only way that he could tell he was traveling faster than the speed of sound was with the help of his instruments.