F-15 jet exercise surprises residents
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.