H-CENTRAL COAST

Dec 20, 2012 7:44 PM by Cameron Polom, KSBY News

Loud boom turns out to be military aircraft

Calls poured into our KSBY newsroom and to local law enforcement Thursday morning after several loud bangs were heard and felt up and down the Central Coast. Many people also reported feeling shaking.

According to John Haire, chief of media relations for Edwards Air Force Base, the rumbling you may have felt was caused by an F-22 Raptor fighter jet.

"I heard the doors in my house banging and the windows were shattering," said one Pismo Beach resident.

"For the most part, everybody was reporting the same thing: that it had felt like an earthquake," said Jake Miller of the Pismo Beach Police Department, "They had heard a sound, but nothing was coming out regarding any earthquake activity in the area."

That's because the sound came from an F-22 Raptor fighter jet using a testing range about 50 miles west of the Vandenberg Air Force Base coastline.

"It's what we call a sonic boom," said David Oppenheimer of the U.S. Geological Survey.

The sound is produced when an object breaks the sound barrier. Shock waves are formed by the air that can't get out of the way of the object fast enough, forming a pressure wave. We perceive that pressure wave as sound.

According to Haire, Edwards Air Force Base conducts these types of operations year-round but today's atmospheric conditions allowed the boom to be heard and felt all along the Central Coast.

The shaking could be felt as far south as Lompoc and as far north as San Simeon. There are even reports of folks feeling the rumbling as far inland as Bakersfield.

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