The US Army is currently training at “Whiskey 470.”
It’s a roughly 200-rectangular-mile patch of airspace over the Gulf of Mexico about 30 miles northwest of Tampa, where pilots learn how to fly the F-22 Raptor, one of the newest and most sophisticated fighters in the Air Force inventory.
Since last week, folks as far inland as Gainesville began reporting loud booming noises shaking houses and rattling windows.
The noises were tied to military exercises run out of Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City that were taking place in airspace over the Gulf, say officials:
‘Given the timing of the calls about the booms, the noise was most probably produced by the Raptors, which can fly up to 1,500 mph, or about twice the speed of sound or by the Eagles, with a top speed of 1,875 mph or Falcons, with a top speed of 1,345 mph. So-called sonic booms!‘
The prevailing atmospheric conditions were right so that the sound carried very far inland. It was a freak occurrence.
Flying exercises should stop today and may have been affecting residents as far as Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Polk, Hernando and Citrus Counties.
There is also a major training exercise taking place in Whiskey 151 involving about 30 jets from various bases in the region. During the exercise, which takes place about 150 miles off the coast, jets fire air-to-air missiles at small jet-powered drones called Firebees and the remotely piloted Phantoms for target practice.