Afterburners – sometimes called “augmentation” – is a process within a jet engine, which creates additional thrust (which creates more speed) for the jet aircraft that they’re contained within. The process of “afterburning” involves adding more fuel than what is normally burned in a combustion cycle, and while this results in the aforementioned increased thrust, a noticeable amount fire extends out the back of the jet exhaust pipe too.
Not only is the process satisfying to the pilot within the jet, but it’s visually stunning (especially at night) for those close to the action/reaction… These plumes of bright fire are accompanied by much additional noise associated with the increased fuel combustion.
OK, so there’s a short, somewhat technical-sounding explanation of what an afterburner is. In reality, it’s also the main reason why many aviation geeks go to military air shows… to see and feel the awesome thunder of an afterburner or three!
So. without further adieux, here is a bundle of photos of afterburners in action, enjoy! You can hover over each photo for a brief description of what’s happening, and the type of jet it is too. Click on the thumbnails for an enlarged view as well.
Watch a MiG-23 in afterburner here… video by John Davidson via Daniel O. Myers…