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Revealed: Half of UK sonic booms in skies OVERWALES.

HALF of all sonic booms recorded from fighter jets in the UK over the past five years occurred above Wales.

Windows have been broken, a greenhouse was damaged and a supermarket was forced to close after roof damage following a sonic boom. In the most dramatic case a fighter jet was reported to have made a "hellish noise" over Aberystwyth, according to the BBC.

Ministry of Defence (MOD) data lists 17 incidents across the UK between May 2009 and June 2014. Eight were over Ceredigion, Powys or Anglesey.

A sonic boom is created as an aircraft breaks the sound barrier. The boom is a shockwave caused when an aircraft accelerates through the speed of sound (761mph/1,225kmh at sea level and an air temperature of 150C).

It can be destructive when it reaches the ground, causing damage to buildings.

Following the retirement of Concorde in 2003, only some military fast jets and missiles are capable of supersonic flight. The figures released by the MOD as a result of a Freedom of Information (FOI) request included the incident in Aberystwyth in March.

The US Air Force (USAF) later apologised, admitting that an F-15E Eagle fighter aircraft had been training near the coast when a pilot inadvertently broke the sound barrier.

A Morrisons supermarket closed temporarily when ceiling tiles fell. The FOI data also lists claims for broken windows and a damaged greenhouse.

Ceredig Davies, an Aberystwyth councillor and shop owner, said: "It felt like something hitting you in the chest. It was a strange experience."

"I was walking out of my shop at the time and after the noise - an extremely loud bang - came this rush of air, hitting me in the chest.

The MOD has received 15 claims for compensation as a result of sonic booms in the past five years and had paid out PS1.8m.

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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 2, 2014
Words:308
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