Sonic Booms Raise Concern, Cause Damage


The Brazilian air force has offered to pay for damage to that country’s Supreme Court building and the U.S. Navy has offered an explanation to San Diego residents after two separate supersonic incidents since last Friday. Residents across at least 40 miles of coastal communities near San Diego experienced a two- to three-second rumble Friday at approximately 12:45 p.m. that shook windows and raised concerns after local Marine bases and the Navy initially denied responsibility. The Navy later revealed that two F/A-18s had gone supersonic some 35 miles off the coast as part of a “family day” ahead of July 4 celebrations. Monday in Brazil, two Mirage 2000 jets participating in a national flag exchange ceremony buzzed the country’s Supreme Court building at low altitude and high speed. The flight shattered the building’s three-story tall glass facade.

Many San Diego residents are familiar with earthquakes, which led to some confusion about Friday’s event — windows and buildings shook, but the earth didn’t. Local news stations reported fielding calls from hundreds of residents who either reported the noise or were seeking answers. And the U.S. Geological Survey recorded more than 500 reports collected from area residents who logged in online. Friday evening, Lt. Aaron Kakiel, a spokesman for the Navy, cleared the air. He told local news stations that two aircraft from the USS Carl Vinsonparticipating in a “family day offshore”had caused two sonic booms heard around the county. The event in Brazil took place to the cheers of a crowd collected to watch the event, which wasn’t meant to include damage to government buildings, but appears to have shattered nearly all windows in the Supreme Court building designed by famed Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. Several other buildings sustained some damage as well. The Brazilian flyover was captured on video, here. And the USS Carl Vinson flyby was captured on video, here.