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Lakenheath: F-15 from RAF Lakenheath causes tremor in Welsh town after smashing sound barrier

PUBLISHED: 16:16 13 March 2014 | UPDATED: 17:40 13 March 2014

An F-15 taking off at RAF Lakenheath

An F-15 taking off at RAF Lakenheath

Archant

An F-15 fighter pilot from RAF Lakenheath gave residents in a Welsh town a rude awakening on Monday when he accidentally caused a sonic boom.

The pilot blasted through the 761mph sound barrier to send tremors through Aberystwyth, smashing windows and dislodging ceiling tiles in the process.

A spokesman for the USAF base said several aircraft were in the area performing an air-to-air training mission when the incident took place.

“We can confirm that an aircraft from RAF Lakenheath is likely to have been responsible for the sonic boom reported over Aberystwyth.

“At that time, several F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft were conducting a challenging air-to-air training mission. Typically, this would be carried out over water but the airspace to be used was lost to us and the jets were re-routed to the Wales Military Training Airspace.

“During the course of the training exercise, near the coast and in the vicinity of Aberystwyth, one of the aircraft, already travelling at high speed, inadvertently and briefly went supersonic at around 18,000 feet and in the process was likely to have caused the noise that was reported online.

“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.”

A number of residents took to Twitter to report the sonic boom, with some fearing a bomb had been dropped on the town.

2 comments

  • @ipswich entrepreneur, not being a pilot, how would you know whether or not one can accidentally break the speed limit? in fact, the similarity between driving a car at the speed limit and keeping an an airplane under the speed of sound is virtually nil. there are literally hundreds of factors that can cause an airplane to exceed the speed of sound, some of them necessitated for safety reasons. simply deviating 1,000 feet from a certain altitude can cause it too. the pilots doing training try their best but when you remove their over-water airspace, things like this are bound to happen.

    Report this comment

    James Burke

    Saturday, March 15, 2014

  • You cannot accidentally break the sound barrier in the way you cannot accidentally break the speed limit ... its called responsibility. The Americans couldn't care less, its their god given right to cause a nuisance.

    Report this comment

    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Thursday, March 13, 2014

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