REPORT: Test flights caused sonic boom in central Missouri

Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 10:15 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 16, 2021 at 7:00 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KY3) - The Kansas City Star reports Boeing confirmed a test flight caused a sonic boom in central Missouri on Wednesday.

Viewers emailed and called the KY3 Newsroom asking for confirmation on what the boom was. One caller said it knocked pictures off the wall.

Read the Kansas City Star’s report on the boom:

“The rattling, high-volume noise was felt all over central Missouri around midday Wednesday including Warsaw, Mo. where Benton County Emergency Management’s dispatch was flooded with calls.

“It was a real loud, cracking boom that took everybody’s attention immediately,” said Mark Richerson with Emergency Management. “There were people standing out the back door and it scared them to death. They thought it was just right up the street the way it sounded. But I think that’s how everybody felt. We took over 50 phone calls within a short period of time.”

While no injuries or damage was reported in Benton County, Richarson said his office did try to find the source of the boom. Social media speculation included talk of an earthquake, but the U.S. Geological Survey office said there had been no reports in Missouri on that day. And a look at a USGS map from the last seven days of earthquakes of all magnitudes shows activity in Oklahoma and near Missouri’s bootheel, but none during the time of the big boom.

Another possible suspect was the home of the B-2 Stealth Bomber in mid-Missouri, Whiteman Air Force Base in Knob Noster.

“We checked but they reported they didn’t have anything in the air,” Richarson said.

The culprit did turn out to be a military jet from 205 miles to the east.

St. Louis is the home of Boeing, which develops space and missile systems and builds the F/A-18 and F-15 fighters. And a Boeing spokesman confirmed to McClatchy News that the sonic boom came from one of its jets.

“We can confirm that it was an F-15 aircraft operating out of St Louis Lambert Airport under contract to the USAF conducting a test flight required by the contract to verify system performance,” the Boeing spokesman is quoted in the article.

Mystery solved.

“It’s good to know,” Richarson replied when told the news. “We’ll just keep that in our hat for future reference and if it happens again, we’ll maybe be able to put people’s minds at ease a little quicker.”

By the way current U.S. law prohibits flight in excess of Mach 1 over land unless specifically authorized by the FAA.

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