Sonic booms from German Eurofighters rattle residents near Ramstein Air Base
By JENNIFER H. SVAN AND MARCUS KLOECKNER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 8, 2020
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — German Eurofighters flying over the state of Rheinland-Pfalz broke the sound barrier several times in recent days, shaking houses, rattling windows and unnerving more than a few people and pets.
The fighter jets eclipsed the speed of sound at different times Thursday and Friday, causing sonic booms that were heard and felt across the Kaiserslautern area and beyond, according to chatter on the Ramstein/KMC Spouses group page.
“SONIC BOOM … Peel your cat off the ceiling and resume homeschooling!” a commenter posted at 9:42 a.m. Thursday, about two minutes after the first boom was heard.
The post set off a flurry of comments, with many cracking jokes and others relieved to know the explosive sounds weren’t bombs going off.
Another person from Kaiserslautern said, “We never hear or feel anything where we live … but we heard and felt that one and ... I no longer need morning coffee.”
Someone who had recently returned from deployment said, “I thought it was another mortar attack. Lol.”
The German air force flies Eurofighter Typhoon jets, which can reach top speeds of around 1,550 mph — just over twice the speed of sound, or Mach 2.
Eight aircraft trained throughout the day Thursday in reserved air space at an unspecified location, a spokesman with the German Military Aviation Authority said by phone Friday.
Four of them were flying at speeds of around 851 knots, or about 979 mph, at an altitude of 42,979 feet when the first boom went off at 9:40 a.m., the spokesman said. The thinner air above 40,000 feet means the sound barrier is hit at about 660 mph.
“Only two of the jets went to supersonic speed,” the spokesman said.
Later Thursday, at about 2:36 p.m., two of the four Eurofighters flying at just above 41,000 feet hit 966 mph.
More sonic booms were heard Friday, when two of five Eurofighters involved in intercept drills reached about 875 mph while flying at around 43,000 feet, the spokesman said.
No laws were broken during the training, the spokesman said. He was unable to say whether residents should prepare to hear more sonic booms in coming days.
It was unclear if there were any reports of property damage from the booms, but someone on the spouses’ page asked where they could report a broken window.
A German Eurofighter Typhoon assigned to Tactical Air Wing 31, Norvenich Air Base, Germany, flies over Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, April 7, 2020. Loud booms heard across the state of Rheinland-Pfalz beginning Thursday were German Eurofighters breaking the sound barrier during training flights.
VALERIE R. SEELYE/U.S. AIR FORCE