Several loud booms surprised the residents of Vega Baja on Tuesday evening, at around 5:25 p.m. causing the windows of homes in the area to rattle and to shake. However, before panic sets in, as both ‘ MeteOrihuela’ and ‘Proyecto Mastral’ point out, in their respective X accounts, these were caused by a sonic explosion, which is usually heard when an aircraft breaks through the barrier sound.
According to ‘MeteOrihuela’, these crashes occurred during military exercises that are being carried out from Los Llanos Air Base, Albacete, the NATO pilot training school that are taking place in the area.
The exercises began on January 29 and will continue until next Thursday, February 8. A spokesman said that all relevant authorities were made aware of these flights some weeks ago.
A few hours before the sonic explosions occurred, the data provided by the ‘Flight Radar’ portal warned of the exercises that the Air Force is currently carrying out in the southwest of the peninsula.
Many different countries regularly participate in these exercises including the UK and Italy with Eurofighter aircraft; Spain, with F18 and Eurofighter; France with Rafale, Greece, with F16; Switzerland, with F18; and Czech Republic, with JAS-39. In addition, to support the courses, there are AWACS air control planes from NATO and France, along with the Command and Control from the Spanish Air and Space Army during the missions.
Previously, last November 21, a similar episode occurred across the Vega Baja region and some parts of the Region of Murcia, that was widely reported by the regional media.
Why do sonic booms occur?
These ‘explosions’ are usually closely associated with aircraft; however, they can be caused by other objects or natural phenomena such as earthquakes or volcanic explosions.
A Sonic boom is an impulsive noise similar to thunder. It is caused by an object moving faster than sound – at 768 miles per hour at sea level. It happens when a flying object disrupts the structure of the air surrounding it, while moving faster than the speed of sound, continuously producing air-pressure waves similar to the water waves caused by a ship’s bow.
Rather strangely, the crew and any passengers of aircraft traveling at supersonic speeds can’t hear the ongoing “sonic boom(s)” created by the aircraft.