Essex 'explosion' was 'sonic boom' caused by military aircraft

Discussion in 'The Barracks' started by CL1, Jun 22, 2019.

  1. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    A loud bang heard across Essex was a sonic boom caused by military aircraft, police have said.

    Residents reported feeling their houses "shaking" after a "loud explosion" that was heard in Harlow, Epping, Chelmsford and Stansted at about 18:40 BST.

    The sound sparked a large number of 999 calls, according to police.

    Stansted Airport said two RAF Typhoon jets escorted a plane in to land due to a disruptive passenger on board. This led to minor delays for other flights.

    A 25-year-old woman has been arrested on suspicion of assault and endangering an aircraft.

    'Sonic boom' caused by military jets
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  2. Blutto

    Blutto Plane Mad

    I bet the RAF lads relish such opportunities! Its happened on previous 'scrambles' for escorting civil aircraft.
  3. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    I am perplexed as to just what value two RAF Typhoon jets might offer in the scenario of a disruptive passenger on board.
  4. Blutto

    Blutto Plane Mad

    Its one of those 'one size fits all' response regimes. It assumes all airborne incidents may result in a Twin Towers scenario and a shoot-down may be required.
    Drew5233 likes this.
  5. SteveDee

    SteveDee Well-Known Member

    What does this mean: "There is a possibility that residents nearby may have heard a loud noise, often associated with a sonic boom, as the aircraft descended into Stansted airspace."

    It reads like 'it sounded like a sonic boom, but it wasn't.'

    I often wonder what the RAF pilot's options are in such circumstances. Could they 'flip' the airliner off course, or would their only option be to shoot it down?
  6. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Well let me say my layman thoughts on the process

    1 Response to aggressive passenger on board plane who allegedly rushed the cockpit
    2 Quick assessment could not rule out a terrorist type attack
    3 Pilot reports what he knows of immediate incident
    4 Security authorities deem the emergency launch of 2 Typhoons
    5 2 Typhoons scrambled ( they could have been airborne anyway on training or the like) and at some point they go supersonic
    6 Concerned folk report explosions
    7 Typhoon pilots on route enjoy the 1000 mph ish burst
    8 A good bit of training for this type of incident
    9 Whingers on the ground possibly moan and complain that it ruined their BBQ
    10 Typhoon pilots appraised that the threat was under control and then escort the passenger plane safely back to Stanstead
    11 Yes if not responsive they would have shot it out of the skies

  7. SteveDee

    SteveDee Well-Known Member

    I think they should take all remaining QF 3.7" guns out of storage and re-commission a few WW2 Ack-Ack sites around our airports...

    MattSteve_qf3_7gun_small.JPG would be so much cheaper than putting 5 star in a Typhoon!

    Note for younger members: petrol used to be sold by octane rating...5* was the highest & best for higher performance cars.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2019
  8. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

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  9. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member


    The RAF’s Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) has been around since the 50s.

    QRA have at least 2 fully armed and fully fueled jets at a UK RAF base on a high state of readiness 24-7, 365 days a year. QRA also has a multitude of radar stations scattered around the UK scanning the skies for intruders. QRA also have Air to Air Refuelling (AAR) and Airborne Early Warning (AEW) aircraft available if necessary.

    Prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, QRA intercepted Russian military aircraft and escorted them out of their area of responsibility. QRA ‘scrambles’ of this type were an almost daily occurrence during the cold war, but are now quite rare.

    Post 9/11 QRA was also given the task of preventing the same thing ever happening in UK. And so any civilian aircraft who is believed to be doing anything remotely suspicious by Air Traffic Control is brought to the attention of QRA and a high-level decision whether to scramble is made. If the aircraft been not been reported quickly enough, the decision to launch could have been delayed and so the jets would have had to go ‘hot’ in order to make a timely intercept. Stanstead is the UKs dedicated airfield for handling such incidents.

    Anyone interested in the history of the QRA should visit the RAF Radar Museum located at the former QRA radar site at Neatishead in Norfolk.

    Hope this helps


    Ex RAF Radar Operator

    QRA 1983-2005.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2019
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  10. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Imagine flying faster than sound in a weapon that you personally have control over...
    (Especially with the grim prospect that you may have to shoot down a civilian airliner.)

    Proper job.
    Daunting responsibility.

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  11. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    So, as a civilian living in the area you should take great consolation from the fact that any 9/11 type threat would be dealt with swiftly and decisively by the Typhoons.

    Conversely, if you are a passenger on an effected flight and see 2 fighters off your wingtips you know the worst case scenario is decidedly not in your best interests.

    Interestingly, the U.S. Air Force regularly and routinely practices the downing of threat airliners while the German courts have ruled that preventive killing is not in accordance with the German constitution.
  12. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    goodness me social media is the worst thing to happen for stupid people
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  13. SteveDee

    SteveDee Well-Known Member

    Many thanks Gus.

    I'm still not sure whether the pilots have any other options but to shoot a rogue plane down. What if the flight crew have all passed out due to lack of oxygen or something?

    Also, if a plane is shot down over a densely populated area, the casualties on the ground may be greater than those in the aircraft.

    [I think WW2 pilots sometimes tried to change the course of V1 bombers by getting their wings close, but not touching]
  14. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Like our armed police/forces they are trained to make a call based on perceived threat level that is the fact

    Steve re your query the pilots would have close quarters view of the cockpit assuming aircraft is in level or up ward flight and again if crew passed out would act accordingly

    mostly this type of thing in British airspace is caused by some drunken pea brain
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  15. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    This '25-year-old woman' should be billed for the aviation fuel, but they'll probably find that the airline was negligent for not allowing her emotional-support peacock on board.

    Airline bans 'emotional support peacock'

    Different story, but it sprang to mind.
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  16. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    yep she will serve clink though
  17. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member

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  18. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Jacobs future career :)
  19. Blutto

    Blutto Plane Mad

    If the flight crew have passed out through lack of oxygen, they will be deceased not very long afterwards.

    However there are only two options, firstly to observe the aircraft until fuel is expired. That might be the preferred option if the aircraft was heading out to sea or a sparsely populated area, as happened in a US incident not long ago. The second option is to shoot it down with missiles or cannon, that decision would require very high level approval, I'd suggest at PM level.
    SteveDee likes this.
  20. SteveDee

    SteveDee Well-Known Member

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