The only thing as intimidating as the speed of sound is the sound of speed.

One feature incorporated into the design of the SSC was something that Andy Green referred to as his “bravery switch.” When Mach’s Demon, the howling banshee of the supersonic winds, begins to gather as compressed molecules of air pummel the race car, Andy hits a switch that samples the sound of the dark wind and processes it, creating and pumping out a mirrored tone exactly 180 degrees out of phase from the original howl.

Due to the cancellation from the dueling sound waves, the sound level in the cockpit drops to a very takable whine from the spinning turbines on either side of the cockpit. This is like Ernst Mach’s experiments in sensory terror (the whizzing of the bullets was what damaged and terrorized battalions as much as the bloodshed and the bullet wounds), or the Ancient Chinese who tried to psych out the spirit world with their rocket displays.

Andy Green’s battle is with a demon. Now the demon is an adversary who is at least muzzled.


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