OCEAN CITY — A loud boom on Monday, followed by windows rattling and homes and businesses shaking, was due to a sonic boom related to military jets in a testing track off the coast.
Many residents and visitors reported the incident shortly after noon on Monday and initially there were concerns it was the result of some seismic activity in the area. By mid-afternoon, the town of Ocean City issued a report stating, “we have received several calls regarding a loud noise in the Ocean City area. The reported noise appears to be a sonic boom. We will continue to monitor reports and update citizens if our initial information changes.”
By late Monday afternoon, officials reported the boom and associated side effects were caused by sonic boom associated with military jet training in the area. Naval Air Station Patuxent River (PAX) officials confirmed they had received a call reporting a sonic boom in the Lewes, Del. area around 12:40 p.m. on Monday.
“We investigated the disturbance and concluded it was a PAX aircraft, compliant with FAA regulations and U.S. Navy requirements,” the PAX statement reads. “Supersonic flights are routinely conducted in the Test Track off the Atlantic coast. The test track is a designated location controlled by the Department of Defense and used by multiple DoD agencies for military training. Sonic booms occur when a jet aircraft exceeds the speed of sound.”
Monday’s disturbance marked the third time over the last few months similar incidents have been reported throughout northern Worcester County and the resort area and each time previously they were attributed to military testing associated with PAX. Officials said this week there is no firm schedule for the testing, and therefore no way of predicting when similar disturbances might occur in the future.
“PAX supersonic operations in the test track have not increased from year to year, but it is normal to expect more flights during clearer, warmer weather than during the winter months,” the PAX statement released on Monday reads.
According to the statement, PAX operations support the research, development, testing and evaluation and aircrew training, which is vital to supporting the men and women of the Navy and Marine Corps who serve the country here and abroad. The flight operations are conducted within military restricted airspace and civilian airspace.