CLEARFIELD, Utah (ABC4 News) – Hill Air Force Base F-35A Lightning II aircrafts are traveling at supersonic speeds every day and night, in approved airspace. But officials say it’s not often you hear their jets breaking the sound barrier.
388th and Reserve 419th fighter wings do a majority of flying from Hill Air in Clearfield to the Utah Test and Training Range west of Tooele.
These fighter jets have the capability to travel faster than the speed of sound, which the National Weather Service reports is roughly 750 miles per hour in Utah.
Training to remain combat-ready with F-35 aircrafts, Hill Air officials said it takes about 15 minutes to fly from Clearfield to the west desert.
In car, travel time is roughly an hour and a half.
Loud booms and shaking can be felt by Utahns along the Wasatch Front when these jets break the sound barrier, creating what’s known as a sonic boom.
“We actually fly supersonic quite a bit as part of our normal training,” said Lt. Col Jonathan “Rev” Hassell, a 388th Operations Support Squadron Director of Operations. “I know…there was a sonic boom felt over Salt Lake City and to be honest, that was a bit of a surprise for us as well.”
Hassel said it’s not every day you can hear or feel sonic booms from long distances.
“I’ve been flying fighters for over a decade and I have never heard of a sonic boom felt or heard 50 or 60 miles away from our training area,” Hassel said. “I can’t guarantee that won’t happen again, but my understanding is that was rather an unusual occurrence as far as the weather pattern.”
Night flying operations have been going on since last month and will continue through April, between the hours of 7 and 10 p.m., as these pilots maintain their readiness for combat and all-weather capabilities.