Franklin Countys First News

Noise confirmed: Two jets from Vermont

FARMINGTON - The loud noise in the sky that prompted many residents to call the police a week ago has been confirmed by authorities as two F16s from Burlington, Vermont on a training run.

A loud, rumbling noise followed by a big boom at about 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19 was enough to prompt several area residents to call police. The noise and explosive-sounding boom, or a possible sonic boom, that shook windows was caused by “jets flying around,” explained one Franklin County dispatcher last week.

Brook Davis, a spokeswoman for the Eastern Air Defense Sector which monitors the Air National Guard's training flights over New England, said according to flight logs, two F16s from the 158th Fighter Wing in Vermont were conducting training runs in the Condor airspace over western Maine on the afternoon Thursday, Nov. 19.

Davis said her office received "five or six calls asking what the noise was and that kind of thing," she said.

Lt. Col Lloyd Goodrow, the public affairs spokesman for the 158th Fighter Wing, also confirmed on Wednesday that two F16 jets on a "practice scramble" flight training exercise at the time when the noise was reported, but said neither pilot reported going fast enough to cause a sonic boom. The training run did include flying in a corridor over Farmington north to Kingfield.

"The pilots are required to log in when they fly supersonic," Goodrow said. Supersonic refers to flying at speeds exceeding 750 miles per hour, or faster than the speed of sound, that can cause the so-called sonic boom or an explosive sound somewhat akin to thunder.

Normally, Goodrow said, Vermont's Air National Guard jets train over northern New York state in the military operations area, Adirondack Airspace Complex west of ANG's base in Burlington, but this particular "practice scramble" required the two pilots to make an unplanned run into the Condor airspace, also a designated military operations area over western Maine.

"They said they were not flying faster than the sound barrier," Goodrow said. He allowed as how it's not impossible for pilots to cause a sonic boom and not know it, if rare atmospheric conditions are conductive to it happening at the time.

"We fly supersonic intentionally over the ocean. It's pretty unusual over land," he said and added, "maybe twice a year we'll get calls" complaining about the jet noise.

For the first story with a link to related stories, click here.

The three military operations areas in New England where the Air National Guard conducts its training exercises.

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11 Responses »

  1. There is an offensively dismissive attitude evident in ANG responses and an unacceptable lack of detail about this overflight. We deserve better than that and I for one demand more detail, to include at minimum:
    1.) What was the actual speed of the planes at the time in question on 11/19/09?
    2.) What are the speed restrictions imposed on such sorties?
    3.) What methods and rules are in place to ensure that speeds are tracked, recorded and reported?
    4.) What happens to pilots who do not obey the rules?
    5.) What action is required if a flight or sonic boom causes damage or injury in the affected area?

    The MA and VT ANG seem to be heedless of the damage they are doing to their reputation and the trust/ good will of the people of Maine. It is an unfortunate trend over the past several years and one that will not serve them well going forward.

  2. sorry, but that's classified.

  3. Bring it on boyz! Fly fast and hard, Train train train! God Speed

  4. So much for the accuracy/honesty of their logs and/or statements. I grew up when sonic booms were common occurences in Western Maine, and that was one!

  5. Seabury Lyon, with the answers you're looking for, what are you going to do with them? Are they going to make your day brighter? What reputation are you referring to???? One that is honorable for the service of the great county? the reputation of training hard and often so we can go out there and put our lives on the line in the heat of war and battle? Get your priorities straight. Obviously nobody cares or shares your thoughts and opinions because they are tasteless.

  6. Seabury Lion, Why do you care? Turn up the NPR on the radio and go back to your basket weaving.

  7. For the last time, the associations between concern over this proposal and the operation of jets in our airspace, and a lack of "patriotism" and "honor," are completely ridiculous and need to stop. NOBODY IS ARGUING THAT PILOTS SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO TRAIN!

    Trying to strawman this debate and make it about whether or not the citizens of Franklin County love their country is counterproductive and insulting to people on *both* sides of the issue.

  8. I once again assert that if this issue had never been brought up, there would not be a problem. This type of training (and the occasional bending of the rules) has been going on for decades with few complaints. Now, anytime a jet flies low overhead, there are a bunch of people on the horn.

    Perhaps this "debate" should never have happened in the first place.

  9. It suprised the crap out of me!! but I like to see the jets fly over, it makes the day interesting...what kind of damage could it do, no worse than thunder.

  10. This issue is about “patriotism” and “honor,” The lack of these traits are why people bitch so much. People are so rapped up with thier (perfect lives) they forget how it was all achieved. If I were the military I would tell the people that complain to get bent and protect your own self against the threats of other nations.

  11. It is very easy for the crybabies to say they are patriotic. It's only a word for them. Other words in their world are ponytails and sandals!