F-35 Joint Strike Fighter believed cause of booms rattling North Coast windows

Moist air carries sound from test area well off-shore

cambrian@thetribunenews.comNovember 18, 2013 

A F-35B flies over Edwards Air Force Base in March.

WWW.F35.COM — Courtesy Photo

UPDATE, 3 p.m.: Three planes from Edwards Air Force Base are on the Sea Test Range doing test flights: An F-35, F-16 chase plane and a tanker, according to John Haire, a civilian spokesman for Edwards. With the weather, he said, the booms were likely generated by those planes.

ORIGINAL STORY: A series of booms that rattled windows in Cambria on Monday may have been caused by supersonic planes flying in the Pacific Test Range, some 70 miles off the coast, according to John Haire, a spokesman at Edwards Air Force Base.

He said cool air and atmospheric moisture (fog and overcast clouds) tends to amplify the sound which, if heard here at all during the warmer days of summer, would be much more faint.

The 36,000-square-mile test range, called the Sea Test Range, is the Department of Defense’s largest range over water. Miles off the coast, it stretches from San Nicolas Island to the San Simeon area.

Haire is checking to see if Edwards, or other California air bases, had any planes in the area.

Similar booms in December 2012 were attributed to two jets, an F-22 and an F-16, which both broke the sound barrier as part of a test flight on a component of the F-22.

The jets reportedly generate double sonic booms, with both the jet's nose and tail sending out shockwaves.

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