A sonic boom probably caused by U.S. F-15E Strike Eagles shook homes and businesses in Wales.
The sonic boom that caused several ceiling tiles come down in a supermarket in the Welsh town of Aberystwyth, UK, was caused by U.S. fighter planes.
Indeed, according to the statement issued by the Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft from RAF Lakenheath had been training in the area when something went wrong.
Initially, the exercise was to be carried out over the sea, but due to the fact that the airspace the exercise was planned in was lost, the jets were directed to RAF military training airspace over the southern part of Wales.
The Strike Eagle which went supersonic broke the “sound barrier” at the altitude of 18,000 feet inadvertently causing the sonic boom.
Here’s how the last part of the USAFE statement reads:
We offer our sincerest apologies for any disturbance or concern that this may have caused. We continue to emphasise airspeed restrictions in our pre-flight briefings to minimise the possibility of inadvertently breaching the sound barrier.
Supersonic flight over the land is usually forbidden for the military aircraft in normal, peacetime conditions except for specific areas.
In CONUS (Continental US) one of these areas is the HASSC (High Altitude Supersonic Corridor), located in Southern California. HASSC is used for flight testing, and it passes over Edwards Air Force Base. It is not the sole corridor of this type, but it is one of the few controlled by the military.
Most of these are within the FAA jurisdiction.
According to the FAA regulations the controlled airspace extends up to 60,000 feet. Anything flying above may fly at “unlimited speeds.”
There is no risk of noise pollution at these altitudes. Supersonic flights are of course permitted in special conditions, for example in case fighter jets have to intercept hijacked liners.
Jacek Siminski for TheAviationist
Image credit: U.S. Air Force