Friday, June 8, 2018

Source of sonic boom may have been identified

WEST PLAINS, Mo. — The source of an extremely loud sonic boom that was heard over a wide swath of the Ozarks Wednesday afternoon may no longer be “up in the air”.

Dispatchers at the Howell County Sheriff’s Office and West Plains Police Department told Ozark Radio News Wednesday that several dozen calls were fielded after the 12:15 pm incident. Several calling in to the agencies reported seeing an airplane either before or after the boom. No major damage was reported.

After the sound rocked the region, reports came in to area emergency services and to Ozark Radio News from a area ranging from as far south as Pocahontas, Ark. to as far west as Gainesville and as far east as Summersville, and north to Salem, Mo.

Rumors began to swirl on social media of the source of the sound — from a sonic boom from a jet breaking the sound barrier overhead, to earthquakes or dynamite, to the possibility of a meteor exploding high in the atmosphere.

Ozark Radio News reached out to officials at Whiteman Air Force Base near Knob Noster, Missouri and Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas to see if there were military exercises in the area at that time. Officials from both bases stated they had not been conducting exercises at the time the sound occurred, however, 2nd Lt. Hunter Rininger with Little Rock AFB stated that testing may have been done at Fort Chaffee as part of an annual training regimen. We’ve reached out to Fort Chaffee for confirmation.

Ozark Radio News also reached out to aircraft manufacturer Boeing for information on possible testing. Shaniqua Manning Muhammad with Boeing’s test and evaluation division told us that the company did conduct an acceptance flight for an F-15 jet in that area Wednesday afternoon.

Acceptance flights are test flights typically conducted by the customer after the purchase of an aircraft.

Fighter jets are known for breaking the sound barrier, which is when the plane travels faster than the speed of sound. The speed of sound, or Mach 1, is roughly 767 mph. F-15s can reach over Mach 2, or 1,656 mph.

No major damage has been reported in connection with the sound.

Original article ➤

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