Police, Expert Blame Military Airplanes for Boom

By Monte Reel Of the Post-Dispatch | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), December 8, 1996 | Go to article overview

Police, Expert Blame Military Airplanes for Boom


Monte Reel Of the Post-Dispatch, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


The window-rattling boom heard in the St. Louis area on Friday still lacks an official explanation, but St. Louis Police and an aerospace engineering expert say evidence points to military airplanes.

"I don't think it's much of a mystery," said Paul Czysz, a professor of aeronautical engineering at St. Louis University's Parks College. "I think it was an unexpected sonic boom from a military aircraft."

Officials at Lambert Field's control tower reported Saturday that they had no knowledge of supersonic aircraft in the area. But St. Louis Police said Saturday that they had received reports of military test airplanes in the area near the time of the boom. Czysz said it is common for booms from military test aircraft to remain undocumented. Police departments throughout the area received reports of the thunderous noise Friday from residents along a wide northeast to southwest line running from Hartford in Madison County to south St. Louis County. But several residents living just north of Hartford in Wood River said they could not hear the boom. Noise from supersonic aircraft follows this type of directional path, Czysz said. Sonic booms occur when flying objects move faster than the vibrations they create in the air; a rapid increase of air pressure produces the sound. Early speculation for the source of the boom pointed to Chemetco Inc. …

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