Keller Go BOOM

Anyone in the area yesterday morning probably heard (or felt) the sonic boom that hit around 11:00 am.

Spend $45 million or so on an airplane, and you’d want to know if it can at least blow past Mach 1.

Well, most everyone in north Tarrant County can attest to one F-16’s readiness.

At least one F-16, flown by a Lockheed Martin test pilot, broke the sound barrier (a bit more than 750 mph) around 11 a.m. Wednesday, setting off a sonic boom that had people buzzing. Dozens of calls flooded police and fire dispatchers in Fort Worth, Keller and North Richland Hills.

Among the curious was the manager of a Sonic Drive-In in North Richland Hills. “Real weird,” Thomas Horne said about the boom.

Joe Stout, a Lockheed Martin spokesman, said two F-16s flying at over 30,000 feet were in a “supersonic corridor” that extends from Alliance Airport to Ardmore, Okla. Every plane is tested at supersonic speeds before anyone gets the keys.

“Occasionally the sound does carry into areas where we don’t want it to be heard,” Stout said. “We apologize to anybody inconvenienced.”

I used to hear them all the time when growing up in East Texas (I was told by someone that they were caused by SR-71’s going to Barksdale AFB, but I’ve never been able to confirm that), so I immediately thought “sonic boom” (and identified a second smaller one and that they came from the northwest).  However, it’d been a while since I’d heard one, and I don’t recall ever hearing one in Keller.  So I doubted myself for a second and went outside just to make sure there wasn’t a real explosion in the area.  But I didn’t see anything and just dismissed it.  However, on the scanner I heard dispatch call station 2 and mention that they were getting lots of calls for an explosion on the northwest side of town. 

I’m guessing that there must be a lot of people here who haven’t experienced many sonic booms, which is probably not surprising as the military tries to avoid supersonic overflights of highly populated areas.  Even in areas where they’re allowed to do it they tend to keep it confined to above 30,000 ft. (as in this case) to minimize the effects.

Once you’ve lived with them for a while they really aren’t too much bother, except for the fact that they scare the bejeebus out of the dog…


  1. Gerry N. says:

    When I was a kid in the early 1950’s we lived in a town called Igloo, in the far S.W corner of So. Dak.  It was a US Army installation where ordnance and ammunition were refurbished and repackaged then sent to Korea.  Tuesday was “Combat Day” every week.  Combat day was when the unusable ordnance was destroyed by placing it in a pit and blowing it up with more explosives. 

    Took most of the day each time.  About 9 in the morning the air raid sirens would go off.  Fifteen minutes later the fun started.  My Mom always put folded blankets or pillows against the front windows of the house to keep the glass from breaking.  She didn’t know to when we first moved in and after the Army replaced the glass, the Sgt. in charge of the detail showed Mom how to do it.  All the kids in town lived from Tuesday to Tuesday.  It was wonderful.

    Any time there was a work detail nearby my Ma would make fresh coffee and fill up a big plate with cookies and have me go tell the Sgt. to bring the men over to the house.  Here it is over 50 years later, and I still get christmas cards from some of those guys.  Loud Explosions still trigger these memories for me.  I like loud.


  2. Dang… just how close were you to that pit? 

    Although I guess with a big enough explosion that it could still be quite a distance and still break glass.

    Still sounds like fun, though.

  3. Bitter says:

    I’ve heard a few in my life, though it might take me a while to identify it.  And, let’s face it, if there’s one around DC, it’s probably safer to assume it was an explosion.  In Waurika, we could hear “practice” at Fort Sill some days.  I don’t know what it was they were shooting or blowing up, but it could be heard faintly in the distance.  The strangest loud sound was when a train derailed about a mile and a half from my house.

  4. Gerry N. says:

    We were about five miles and three ridges away.  When eight or ten 2000# concussion bombs go off all at one time, five miles ain’t half far enough.  That and our house was pointed just the right direction.  All the sixplexes on our street had to pad the front windows to keep the glass intact.

    If it was cloudy we could see the flash reflecting from the clouds and if we timed it just right the pressure wave would move a seven year old about a foot if he jumped up at the right time.  It was easy to tell the newcomers from the old timers.  The new kids crapped their pants, and ran home crying, the rest of us just got all exited and impatient for the next blast.