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'Oh Crap,' Said Air Force Pilot Who Broke The Sound Barrier And A Bunch Of Windows

Illustration for article titled Oh Crap, Said Air Force Pilot Who Broke The Sound Barrier And A Bunch Of Windows

The Thunderbirds are the U.S. Air Force's crack aerobatics team, so they have to practice a lot to get their routines down. Mistakes can lead to horrible crashes, or, as in the case of a Thunderbird pilot flying over Tucson, Ariz., thousands of dollars in damaged property.

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So there was this unexpected sonic boom. No one knows who the pilot was — his name was redacted from the airport report — but we do know that he got a little hot on the throttle when he was trying to catch up with one of his teammates. People on the ground heard a massive thunderclap as his plane broke the sound barrier, and the air control tower heard "Oh crap..." squawk over the radio as he zoomed by.

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The sonic boom broke windows and had all kinds of people calling 911, ultimately causing about $22,000 worth of damage around Tucson. I'd say it's a pretty safe bet that Davis-Monthan Air Force Base officials might move training flights farther from the city. There's lots of nothing around Tucson; wide open expanses where "Oh crap" can just be "Oh well." (Hat tip to ttyymmnn!)

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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DISCUSSION

Odd, the Mythbusters tried to replicate this with the Blue Angels and couldnt get hardly anything to break even at 200' AGL