Residents, the RAF and Stansted Airport react to sonic boom

Typhoon jet flying in the air

Typhoon jet. - Credit: Jamie Hunter

Uttlesford, Cambridge and London residents felt a sonic boom at just after 1pm on Tuesday, January 12.   

Residents in Great Chesterford, Thaxted, Stansted and Dunmow are among those who heard the noise.

Saffron Walden resident Paul Edd Duck Davison joked: "Sorry, had parsnips."

Stuart Henderson said: "Never heard a noise like it. Nearly knocked me off my feet in Stebbing Green."

Alison Bunter from Ashdon said her whole house shook.


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Reader Trudi Hughes said it was a "dreadful explosion".

Twitter user @TheThreeHills2, from Bartlow, said: "It was extremely loud over us. It almost sounded like a bomb. And then we saw the tail end of a plane and the jet stream in the sky. The animals went crazy and the whole house shook!"

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A spokesperson from Essex Police said they were contacted just after 1pm, following concerns for a private aircraft which appeared to have lost radio contact.

The spokesperson added: "As a precaution, the aircraft, which was a private plan travelling from Germany to Birmingham, was intercepted and escorted into Stansted Airport.
"Those on board the aircraft were spoken to and all was found to be in order. The aircraft was allowed to proceed on its journey."

This video showing a Typhoon's trail in the sky was sent to us by reader Mark McGowen

An RAF spokesperson said an RAF QRA (quick reaction alert) jet from Coningsby was scrambled. 

RAF Typhoons are authorised to go supersonic as operationally required.

“The RAF can confirm Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon aircraft were launched this afternoon from RAF Coningsby to intercept a civilian aircraft that had lost communications.

"Subsequently, communications were re-established, the aircraft was intercepted and safely escorted to Stansted.

"The Typhoon aircraft were authorised to transit at supersonic speed for operational reasons.”

A Stansted Airport spokesperson said the jet escorted an aircraft to the airport, and landed safely.

The airport briefly closed the runway.

There is a limited number of flights at the moment, so no disruption was experienced.



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