Serving the High Plains

Sonic boom came from Cannon air exercises

A sonic boom over Quay County and other parts of the region earlier this month occurred during a training exercise, public affairs officials from two Air Force bases in New Mexico said.

The boom on the evening of Jan. 19 shook windows at residents’ homes and prompted calls to local emergency dispatchers. It was felt as far away as Conchas and Amarillo. No damage was reported.

Jaclyn Pienkowski, public affairs chief at Cannon Air Force Base, stated in an email last week the Melrose Air Force Range had hosted an air integration training exercise on Jan. 19 involving high-speed aircraft maneuvers “which could have resulted in local areas hearing a loud noise.”

Pienkowski said the training complied with all applicable regulations from the military and the Federal Aviation Administration.

“The training conducted at Melrose Air Force Range is imperative for our aircrew to gain the proficiency necessary to execute their mission and to defend our Nation when called upon,” she added.

Rob Smith, public affairs chief at Kirtland Air Force Base, stated in an email the aircraft responsible for the sonic boom was an B-1B Lancer bomber from Dyess Air Force Base in Texas used during the mission near Cannon.

Smith and a public affairs official from Holloman Air Force Base said none of their aircraft was in the area at the time.

Supersonic speeds by civilian plane over land is federally banned, though it is permitted by military aircraft over designated areas.

 
 
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