F-16 Jet Goes Supersonic Over Washington DC

(RepublicanNews.org) – Residents of Washington, D.C. who thought they heard a sonic boom on June 4th were right.

It turns out the ear-blasting noise came from an F-16 fighter jet that was scrambled to intercept a small private plane that did not respond to radio calls from air traffic control. North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD-the initialism from the original organization name is still used) stated that a Cessna 560 Citation V, a small business jet, was tracked performing a “strange flight path” in the airspace around the nation’s capital.

Despite repeated attempts at radio contact, the pilot did not respond. The plane later crashed in Staunton, Virginia, near the George Washington National Forest.

NORAD authorized the fighter jet to fly at supersonic speeds in order to intercept the plane. When commercial or private planes appear on radar at air traffic control but do not respond to radio calls, it is standard protocol for a military jet to intercept the plane. The F-16 intercepted the Cessna at 3:20 pm on June 4th, but the pilot did not respond to visual signals, including flares.

With exceptions for military planes in certain circumstances, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) bans planes from traveling at the speed of sound or higher across U.S. land, or close to the shore. This is because traveling at that speed creates incredible noise.

Sonic booms are created when objects fly at the speed of sound or faster (about 761 miles per hour, depending on atmospheric conditions) because the object causes waves in the air to “pile up” and the released energy is extremely loud. Sonic booms are also created by lightning strikes and meteors.

Residents in D.C., Northern Virginia, and Maryland heard the boom and began speculating on social media about what may have caused it. A plausible idea from many was that jets at nearby military bases might have been performing exercises.

No details have been released yet about the reason for the Cessna’s crash.

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