Residents in London, on Tuesday, were jolted after a loud bang was heard in the skies of London stirring panic shortly after 1pm.
The loud bang was heard over parts of southeast England, Hertfordshire, Essex, Kent, Cambridge, north and south London.
The Royal Air Force (RAF) later confirmed that the noise was caused by a plane, RAF Typhoon Quick Reaction Alert jet, scrambled from RAF Coningsby to intercept another jet that lost communications and was escorted to Stansted.
RAF, on its Twitter handle, tweeted that loud bang heard over parts of southeast England was a sonic boom.
Supersonic boom occurs when an aircraft beats the speed of sound.
The RAF jets are authorised to go supersonic ‘if necessary’ – which is why the boom was heard.
When the speed of sound is considered in the atmosphere on a standard day at sea level static conditions, it is about 761 mph, or 1100 feet/second, or in dry air at 20 °C = 343 m/s.
RAF Typhoon aircraft were scrambled on a Quick Reaction Alert operation today after a civilian aircraft lost comms in UK Airspace. Our jets went supersonic to reach the aircraft quickly. The aircraft was intercepted & comms re-established.”
RAF Typhoon aircraft were scrambled on a Quick Reaction Alert operation today after a civilian aircraft lost comms in UK Airspace.
— Royal Air Force (@RoyalAirForce) January 12, 2021
The German Learjet below had lost communications with air traffic control, before the RAF transported it to Stansted Airport (pictured), where it remained parked.
The Ministry of Defence later confirmed that an RAF Typhoon Quick Reaction Alert jet was scrambled from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire and broke the sound barrier at around 700mph over Peterborough.
DailyMail reported that the jet intercepted a private Bombardier Learjet travelling from Germany which had lost communications with air traffic control, and escorted it to Stansted Airport at 1.40pm – where it remained parked.
The plane, which is a Bombardier Global Express D-AFAL, is available for ‘VIP’ hire and can carry up to 12 passengers and two pilots – or three for long-haul flights – as well as one cabin attendant.
On its website, the 48ft custom-painted plane offers ‘VIP transportation’ and boasts three single beds, two double beds and ultra-fast Wifi in its ‘spacious cabins.’ With Rolls Royce engines, the private jet can reach speeds of 560mph.
A spokesman for the airport said the ‘private jet’ was believed to have been flying from Germany to Birmingham.
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