Sound barrier broken for first time in Australia

During a 20-minute test flight on this day, the prototype Sabre swept-wing jet fighter built by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation became the first aircraft to break the sound barrier over Australia. Taking off at 11.40 am from CAC’s Avalon airfield outside Geelong, Victoria, aircraft A94-101 (the first local version of the North American F-86 Sabre fitted with the Rolls Royce Avon RA7 engine) reached a height of 25 000 feet before entering a shallow dive over Port Phillip Bay. As the aircraft’s speed reached 670 mph (1078 km/h), it generated a sonic boom that was heard in Melbourne. The pilot on this occasion, 28-year-old Flight Lieutenant William Scott, was actually not the first RAAF member to achieve supersonic sound. This feat had apparently been achieved two years earlier on an American F-86 by Wing Commander ‘Dick’ Cresswell, while he was briefly attached to a US fighter group in Korea.

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