Sonic booms from military fighter jets rattle residents in Illinois an…

Military aircraft creating sonic booms in separate incidents left communities in Illinois and Oregon rattled over the past week. Officials said shaking was felt by many residents, with some fearing an earthquake had hit.

On Tuesday, an F-15 fighter jet traveling over central Illinois produced a sonic expansion that rattled the vicinity, prompting concerned residents to flood local police stations with calls about the noise, a state agency said. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency said in a statement that the department was alerted about 11:20 a.m. CST about “a large noise and shaking felt by many residents” across central Illinois.

A McDonnell Douglas F-15C Eagle fighter jet, from Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas is seen in March 2017.

Larry MacDougal / AP

The state agency said it began investigating with federal, state and local officials and found that the sound was a sonic expansion from a military fighter jet.

“It was determined that an F-15 fighter jet in the airspace above central Illinois course corrected creating a sonic expansion. When the aircraft broke the sound obstacle, the pressure wave produced an audible noise and minor shaking in the vicinity,” the state agency said in a statement.

There have been no reports of damage caused by the noise, it additional.

The sonic expansion in Illinois follows a similar incident in Oregon last week. Military officials said a sonic expansion that caused extensive concern on the Oregon coast that an earthquake had happened was caused by an aircraft that “inadvertently went supersonic.”

The 142nd Wing of the Oregon Air National Guard said the sonic expansion last Tuesday was caused by aircraft.

Master Sergeant Steven Conklin, spokesman for the 142nd Wing, said the military is empowered to fly supersonic 15 miles beyond the coastline, but pilots should not have the nose of the jet pointed toward the coast.

The 142nd Wing in a Facebook post apologized for causing concern among coastal residents.

“During this training, we inadvertently went supersonic, and caused a sonic expansion while pointed slightly toward the coastline while greater than 15 miles away from land,” the 142nd Wing posted on Facebook. “We understand that this caused concern from our coastal residents and for that we sincerely apologize.”

Conklin said the aircraft were a single-pilot F-15C and a two-person F-15D Eagle.

While speeds fluctuate during training, “it is not uncommon to go supersonic during basic fighter maneuvers, sometimes referred to as dogfighting,” he said.

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