Navy Hornet rattles windows, nerves as it breaks sound barrier over city

By Ed Martin, Editor
Stock photo of jet breaking sound barrier.
Stock photo of jet breaking sound barrier.

If you’re a resident of Lemoore and you heard a very loud explosion at approximately 10:30 a.m on Wednesday, you weren’t alone. According to Naval Air Station Lemoore sources, that loud boom was the sound of an FA-18 breaking the sound barrier, something naval aviators aren’t supposed to do over populated areas.

The shock wave from the sonic boom rattled windows and made more than a few residents wonder what that sound was. The Lemoore Police Department fielded a number of calls and it wasn’t until several hours later that the cause was determined.

According to the NAS Lemoore Public Affairs Office it was a training mission aircraft that emitted the sonic boom. "An F/A-18 Super Hornet assigned to Naval Air Station Lemoore was conducting a training mission in the Lemoore Military Operating Area when at approximately at 10:26 a.m. the aircraft exceeded the speed of sound,” said NAS Public Affairs Officer Marc Calero.

“Although the noise generated is a public concern, at no time was there risk to the community.  We apologize to those who were impacted by this occurrence.  An investigation has been initiated that seeks to maintain accountability and minimize the potential of this occurring in the future."

Calero told The Leader that it shouldn’t have occurred. “We don’t practice over populated areas,” he said. “It’s not something we take lightly. It is something that would warrant an investigation.”

The name of the pilot and squadron was not released. Calero said the pilot landed the aircraft safely.

To break the sound barrier, the Hornet must have been traveling at the speed of at least 767 miles per hour. Both Navy and Federal Aviation Administration regulations prohibit breaking the sound barrier over populated areas.

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