Does anyone remember sonic booms?

I was born in 1962 and grew up in the Chicago suburbs. About the time I was 5 or 6, I remember it being not commonplace but not all that unusual to hear a boom in the sky, and my 5 or 6 (or whatever) year old friends would look startled for a second then say to each other, “sonic boom” and go about the business of playing cops and robbers or whatever.

Anybody remember those days? Did I dream this memory? I’ve tried to look up the history of transonic flights over the continental US, and I’m not sure when there was or wasn’t sonic booms I could have heard.

Sure, I remember them. Why don’t we still hear them?

Funny you should ask. This came up yesterday in a Chicago South Side group, and many remember them from the 60s and 70s. I remember a sonic boom or two in the mid-to-late 80s, but I think they were unintentional.

I remember them from the 80s and probably 90s, but I don’t think I’ve heard any since then.

I thought they were military, sometimes the jets were low enough to see them and their trails.

I can’t help for the US, but when I was growing up in the 70s and 80s, everybody knew that Germany was the potential first theater of WW3, so it was fly over country for low jet fighters, and VERY low flying jets over heavily populated areas were daily occurrences. That alone was loud enough, but sometimes you heard a sonic boom. Everybody knew what it was, but nonetheless it always shook you to your bones.

They seemed to be particularly common in 1967-68 or 9 where I was a youngster. I’ve never, not once, heard them since.

Heard them all the time in Anchorage, since there is an AFB on the edge of town. We didn’t hear them in Juneau when I was very young, so when we moved to Anchorage when I was 10, I thought someone was starting a war. I remember being awakened by jets flying over and sonic booms and was scared spitless.

That sounds kind of frightening for a kid! I can’t figure out why I would have heard them in Illinois in 1967ish though.


Instead of improving on supersonic transport by reducing costs and increasing options, in 1973 Congress and the FAA bowed to the pressure of anti-Concorde activists by issuing a complete ban on civil supersonic flight overland—a ban that exists to this day.

Sure, but the Concorde sure wasn’t landing at O’Hare in 1967. And my Boom experience was over by 1969 at the latest.

Anyone remember Booms as a child being commonplace in the continental US? I mean, we’re talking about a narrow range of years, so possibly just me (on this board).

That sounds about right. My family was living in the DC suburbs and there were some reported sonic booms from military aircraft. Any loud enough noise might get called a sonic boom by somebody though, so I could never be sure what I heard.

I can’t remember ever hearing one (I grew up in the D.C. suburbs in the 1960’s).

But, if you want to see what a sonic boom can do, take a look at this:

I hear ‘something’ now and then that I can’t attribute to anything else. I’m not far from a somewhat Major Navel Fighter training base and bombing range. Who knows? Probably not, however.

But I remember them. My dad used to create them. I have his ‘SuperSonic Shoes’ in my shop, sitting on a shelf. He drove 86’s and 100’s.

I only remember hearing one once, around 1970 or so, while we were on vacation in far northern Wisconsin. I remember my father noting that there was an Air Force base in the nearby Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and him suggesting that that was where the plane was from.

I recall hearing them in the 80s, so I assume military planes still did it.

I remember hearing a few in the early-mid '60s.

The last time I heard a sonic boom was in 1968. I was in the fifth grade, and due to school overcrowding, I was in one of those rickety old temporary classroom buildings. When the boom hit, I thought the building was going to fall apart (fortunately, no windows broke).

Sometimes I wonder why I haven’t heard any since then.

What area?

Houston, Texas. I lived there until 1979 but never heard another one.

I did hear a boom in California when a Space Shuttle was coming in for a landing. I’m pretty sure about that one because I was following it on TV and they reported when we’d hear the boom. I was pretty far away though, it wasn’t very loud.