Parisians alarmed by Dassault Rafale fighter jet sonic boom

© Dassault Aviation – M. Douhaire

Around noon on September 30, 2020, a loud explosion was heard in Paris and its outskirts, startling citizens. The sound was caused by a fighter plane that crossed the sound barrier to intercept an airliner.

The Dassault Rafale was scrambled from Saint Dizier Air Base 113 for an interception mission to assist an aircraft that had lost contact with the ground near Saint Brieuc, 500 kilometers (300 miles) west from the base. In order to quickly reach the plane, the pilot was authorized to go supersonic at high altitude, as Colonel Stephane Spet, the spokesperson for the Air and Space Force, explained.

The information was confirmed by the Paris Police Prefecture, which asked residents not to clutter up the emergency services telephone lines. The sound, that could be heard in a radius of about 100 kilometers (62 miles), briefly interrupted tennis players on the Roland-Garros courts.

The aircraft in trouble was identified as the Embraer 145 registration F-HOXY operated by Amelia International. It was carrying out flight AEH051T from Brive-Souillac Airport (BVE) to Saint Brieuc Armor Airport (SBK)

“Radio contact has been reestablished with the civilian aircraft and the situation returned to normal,” cleared out the French Air Defense Command and Air Operations Command on Twitter. The command also added that out of 450 abnormal situations faced by the French Air Force in 2019, 210 required the intervention of a fighter plane or a helicopter.


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