Booms Heard Across Northern Utah Confirmed To Be From F-35 Training
HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah – People from Utah County to Davis County heard loud booms Monday night, and no one knew for sure what caused them until Tuesday afternoon.
On Monday, Hill Air Force Base officials had notified the media that F-35 jets would be practicing nighttime training until 9:30 p.m. through Jan. 30.
We can confirm there was no earthquake.
One possibility that may be a cause for the reports of “booms” people have heard/felt: https://t.co/arORc0hZdh
— UUSS (@UUSSquake) January 26, 2021
Early Tuesday morning base officials said the reported booms were not from their jets, sending Utahns to social media to try and figure out what caused the noise.
But later in the day, HAFB officials determined the startling noises came from their supersonic jets.
“My cat was snoozing in a bag, a paper bag actually,” said Patrick Wiggins, Utah’s NASA ambassador. “Boom! Boom! And she scoots out of the bag and just stands there like what was that?”
Sonic booms that occur on the range aren’t usually heard/felt across the Wasatch Front. However, if the strong inversion layer from yesterday still existed at the time, energy from the sound wave can get trapped and persist as "a strong signal for greater distances"
— 388th Fighter Wing (@388fw) January 26, 2021
He was in the Stansbury Park Observatory when those first sounds came across.
“And I’m going, ‘Ooo! Meteor!’ because that’s what will occasionally happen if you get a meteor close enough, it will make a nice sonic boom. But when it kept happening, I’m going ‘No, it must be the Air Force.’”
That’s exactly what it was. A statement from the 388th fighter wing said it was caused by a training sortie over the Utah Test and Training Range.
Mystery of the booming sounds solved: https://t.co/MFWQlF9e3D
— Mike Anderson (@mikeandersonKSL) January 26, 2021
Even with that explanation, there was still the question of why people from such a wide area heard it.
“It was all over the place, so my supposition is that it must have, I don’t know, something atmospheric going on, maybe an inversion that was allowing the sonic booms from way out there in the west desert to make it all the way over this way,” Wiggins surmised.
The retired airman was right. That’s the same explanation HAFB officials gave.
Those sounds of freedom need a fair amount of training and F-35 pilots have to be prepared to deploy at night when the jets are tougher to see.
The 388th Fighter Wing said they try their best to be good citizens and neighbors and usually exercises over the training range out west are not heard across such a wide area.
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