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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.


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.


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