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Oregon Air National Guard causes 'inadvertent' sonic boom

Ensign John Gay, U.S. Navy file Photo Wikimedia commons

SALEM — Military officials in Oregon say a sonic boom that caused widespread concern on the Oregon coast that an earthquake had happened was caused by an aircraft that “inadvertently went supersonic.”

The 142nd Wing of the Oregon Air National Guard on Wednesday said the sonic boom on Tuesday was caused by aircraft.

Master sergeant Steven Conklin, spokesman for the 142nd Wing, said the military is authorized to fly supersonic 15 miles beyond the coastline, but pilots should not have the nose of the jet pointed toward the coast.

The 142nd Wing in a Facebook post apologized for causing concern among coast residents.

“During this training, we inadvertently went supersonic, and caused a sonic boom while pointed slightly toward the coastline while greater than 15 miles away from land,” the 142nd Wing posted on Facebook. “We understand that this caused concern from our coastal residents and for that we sincerely apologize.”

Conklin said the aircraft were a single-pilot F-15C and a two-person F-15D Eagle.

While speeds fluctuate during training, “it is not uncommon to go supersonic during basic fighter maneuvers, sometimes referred to as dogfighting,” he said.