Blast Waves and Explosions Sound generation by explosive decompression of an airplane
We examine sound generation by the explosive decompression of a pressurized airplane in flight. The near-field is numerically computed by assuming the sudden removal of an axial section of an idealized, streamlined, cylindrical fuselage with an external flow simulating flight. After an initial transient period, we find a nearly circular blast wave with a leading shock strength that is highest in the direction of motion and decreasing rapidly as the observer moves to the rear of the airplane. Geometric acoustics (ray tracing) is used to estimate the attenuation of the wave as it propagates through a model atmosphere to observers on the ground. The audibility of the event is examined in the case of the TWA 800 accident and compared to previous analyses.