F-15 jet ex­er­cise sur­prises res­i­dents

The Washington Post Sunday - - WEATHER - BY MARTINWEIL weilm@wash­post.com

Anair de­fense ex­er­cise that was post­poned from last week was car­ried out around mid­night Fri­day to the sur­prise of some Washington area res­i­dents.

“It was not a nor­mal sound,” said Donna Eng­borg, who lives in the Lake Ridge sec­tion of Prince Wil­liam County.

She was speak­ing of the F-15 jets that flew here from Lan­g­ley Air Force Base in Hampton, Va., for the ex­er­cise, ac­cord­ing to a spokesman for the North Amer­i­can Aero­space De­fense Com­mand.

She said she heard the noise be­tween about mid­night Fri­day and 12:30 a.m. Satur­day. She did what many peo­ple do these days: She “went on Face­book” to see if oth­ers had heard the noise. At least a dozen peo­ple had posted on a lo­cal news out­let’s Face­book page. Eng­borg’s hus­band, Brad, went out­side.

“I saw one plane def­i­nitely mov­ing very, very fast,” he said. Some­times, air­lin­ers pre­sum­ably headed for one of the re­gion’s air­ports fly nearby, he said. But, he said, “this thing was cook­ing re­ally fast.”

The noise it made seemed dif­fer­ent from the stan­dard air­liner sound as well, he said. “It was a very, very loud whoosh­ing roar sound,” he said.

He said he got out­side in time to see the flash­ing lights of the fast dis­ap­pear­ing fighter plane.

An­other North­ern Vir­ginia res­i­dent said she, too, heard one or both of the F-15s as they swooped across the mid­night sky.

It “just sounded like a re­ally lowfly­ing air­plane,” she said. Air­craft do fly over­head to and from the air­ports, she said,“ but not that low.”

The ex­er­cise was to be­gin last Tues­day night, but in­clement weather in the area helped prompt of­fi­cials to post­pone it, said NORAD spokesman John Cor­ne­lio.

Such ex­er­cises have be­come rel­a­tively com­mon in this area since the Sept. 11, 2001, ter­ror­ist attacks.

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