U.S. F-15E goes supersonic over UK: ceiling tiles come down in local Supermarket

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


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About Jacek Siminski
Standing contributor for TheAviationist. Aviation photojournalist. Co-Founder of DefensePhoto.com. Expert in linguistics, Cold War discourse, Cold War history and policy and media communications.


  1. A small suggestion with respect to your use of the term “fighter jet” in
    this, and many other articles, in your very interesting and
    authoritative publication: I’d suggest the generally accepted term in
    English within the aviation community (as opposed to the general public
    and media) is “jet fighter,” not “fighter jet.”

      • Distinctions matter. Would you say “Bomber Jet” to describe jet-propelled US Bombers, as opposed to “Bomber Props” to describe propeller-driven bombers from, say, Russia?

        • What is this, an encyclopedia? Watch out, David, it sounds like the grammar police are out to get you. You know the ski mask and goggles in his profile pic means he is super serious lol

          • And what would you know about encyclopaedias? Obviously you haven’t opened one lately, or you would have known from checking Vol. 1, flipping it open to “Air Power”, and knowing which should be called by what. “Fighter Jet” has been way misused in text in way too many places. You have to draw the line somewhere and this place is as good as any – seeing as it’s actually about Aviation and not General News.

            • You don’t HAVE to, unless you feel the overwhelming desire to control or fix everything around you. They make pills for folks like you now :)

              • I’m not the original poster on which terms to use, merely responding to the would-be smart-mouth asking “Who cares?”, and you have the gall to suggest I have Control Issues? I was willing to let it go until you jumped-in with your own non-contributory nonsense.

                Perhaps you should be taking those certain pills you suggest? And what would you know about them? Evading your own physician’s advice?

                  • Someone asked. I was kind enough to provide an answer.

                    Now I ask, why would you defend the use of “fighter jet” as an appropriate term when clearly it’s the wrong one? Do you define an engine type as an aircraft type in itself? The aircraft type is the “Fighter” not the “Jet” that propels it.

                    Fighter Jet: A jet that happens to be a fighter, as if jet engines could fly by themselves.
                    Jet Fighter: A fighter plane that has a jet engine.
                    Now try that nomenclature switch-arounds with bomber, transport, refueler, recon, even rotorwing aircraft. Even the Moderator agrees with me.

                    Or maybe you’re the type to peddle ignorance to the masses.

                    • All im saying is cut these folks some slack…if he chooses to use one term over another while still providing interesting content, thats fine with me and frankly most folks probably don’t care either way. If his wording offends, try reading another of the many aviation blogs available. Want to write about “jet fighters” and not “fighter jets?” Start your own blog and you can have total control over what gets posted. I just don’t enjoy seeing people griping about silly semantics issues in someone elses’ informal work. If this were scholarly discourse, I’d probably side with you. However, its just light reading, so take it easy, enjoy the read, and post interesting comments that further the dialogue.

                    • Cut these folks some slack? Go read something else? Post interesting comments to that further the discourse?

                      How about you cut me some slack and you go take your own advice by reading some other post which doesn’t get your panties in a bunch.
                      These guys blog for our consumption and have enabled Disqus for our reactions. Anything is fair nits to pick on and nobody has to conform to your idea of peer pressure and communal group think. What are you, in high school?
                      Grown men don’t defend other men’s mistakes and they certainly don’t name call other men who care to point out mistakes if those men’s criticisms are constructive.
                      David didn’t even write this article rather Jacek did. If either of those two writers learned anything from my reaction then I’ve done my job and I don’t have to satisfy the likes of you in the process.

                    • I took this advice, and I find it quite useeful. Thank you very much man. Although I have a MA in English Language I guess you learn all your life. And this was one of the moments that I have learnt something.

      • It matters just like the stupid liberals using “assault rifles” for everything matters. The unknowing and uninitiated will continue to use it until corrected!

    • Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’m so damn sick and tired of newscasters using “fighter jet” to describe a jet fighter. I’m ex-Air Force and that grinds my eardrums!

  2. The picture on this article is misleading. I clicked this article expecting something about a F-15 C Model. Instead this article is about E models. I Couldn’t be more disappointed.

  3. Given what’s going on, NATO needs to be putting on a good show with training exercises by its strike aircraft farther to the east over Poland and the Ukraine with a good load out for a first strike.
    Oh, wait, only Putin has any cojones . . . never mind.

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