"as air pressure decreases suddenly across shock waves"
this is ... shocking! (unsigned IP comment)
"Essentially, the tail of the aircraft is in supersonic flight while the bow is still flying subsonically, and is said to be in transonic flight." This is plain wrong: the plane being a solid object, all of its parts fly at exactly the same velocity relative to the ground. Isn't the airflow supersonic around the front part of the plane and subsonic around the tail? Definitely needs to be amended accordingly. (unsigned comment by 22.214.171.124)
- The speed relative to the ground is the same everywhere. But the speed of the air relative to the aircraft is higher in some areas. Also, temperature changes cause the local speed of sound to change. The ratio of these two speeds (called the Mach number), and not the speed relative to the ground, determines whether flow is (locally) subsonic or supersonic. So the statement is true, if slightly confusing. I tried to amend it to clarify. Ariadacapo (talk) 17:15, 4 February 2016 (UTC)