Eielson Air Force Base

Twenty-five F-35A Lightning IIs assigned to the 354th Fighter Wing prepare to launch during Arctic Gold 21-2 on April 7, 2021, on Eielson Air Force Base. Arctic Gold 21-2 is a Phase I and Phase II readiness exercise designed to test the 354th Fighter Wing’s ability to rapidly generate and deploy F-35A Lightning II aircraft, cargo and supporting personnel.

An Eielson aircraft flying faster than the speed of sound outside of an authorized zone caused a sonic boom that shook North Pole homes on Monday evening.

Eielson spokesperson Parker Dubois confirmed that what many North Pole residents heard and felt was a sonic boom created by an Eielson Air Force Base aircraft. According to Dubois, an Eielson aircraft flying at 27,000 feet “went supersonic outside of an authorized zone” at around 6 p.m. on Monday evening. This “may explain the sound,” they added.

North Pole residents have been discussing the sounds in neighborhood Facebook groups, with several posts about the Monday night boom. One commenter described the Monday event as a “small explosion,” and others said that, like an earthquake, it shook houses and other buildings.

People have commented about the booms occurring intermittently over the summer, but Dubois said that without specific dates, times and locations they are unable to confirm whether the other instances were also caused by Eielson aircraft.

Eielson received a fleet of F-35 fighter jets, which can travel at nearly twice the speed of sound. Dubois explained that Eielson pilots will undergo refresher training about airspace and authorized zones.

Sonic booms are the sound of shock waves made by an object traveling faster than the speed of sound. As their name suggests, the booms create a large amount of sound energy, which, along with being startling to people and animals, can shake buildings and generate even further disruption.

A similar phenomenon occurred during the spring of 2018, when people from Two Rivers to Ester commented about the booms on social media. An Eielson public affairs officer confirmed that the noises were sonic booms caused by the Air Force’s Red Flag exercise.

To file a noise complaint, contact the 354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs Office on Eielson at call 907-377-2116. 

Contact reporter Maisie Thomas at 907-459-7544 or mthomas@newsminer.com.

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