A large boom is reported every couple of weeks around the county by concerned citizens. It has even made it into police reports as shocked officers search for the source of the booms. Schools in Piketon were closed about a year ago due to shaking windows.
In order to understand what “the boom” means, we turned to Scioto EMA Director Larry Mullins. Keeping up with potential threats to our county is literally his job.
Here’s what director Mullins has to say about the Big Booms.
It is not unusual for area residents to see and hear low-flying military aircraft, especially in the northern half of our county. This is because a large portion of southern Ohio, including parts of Scioto County, are part of two very busy Military Operation Areas (MOA). An MOA is an area set aside by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) where military aircraft can train and maneuver.
The two military training areas that encompass a large portion of southern Ohio are the Buckeye MOA and the interconnected Brush Creek MOA. Both areas are monitored by the Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The Buckeye and Brush Creek MOAs are used by several Air National Guard units from Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan for Aircraft Combat Maneuvers (ACM) and Aerial Refueling (AR).
Both of the MOAs are mainly used by the 180th Fighter Wing of the Ohio Air National Guard based near Toledo flying F-16 Falcons.
On occasion, the 122nd Fighter Wing of the Indiana Air National Guard, based in Ft. Wayne utilizes the Buckeye and Brush Creek MOAs. The 122nd recently returned to flying F-16s after flying the A-10 Thunderbolt II for the past dozen years.
Also the 127th Fighter Wing of the Michigan Air National Guard based at Selfridge, near Detroit, Michigan uses the Buckeye and Brush Creek MOAs. The 127th flies the subsonic attack aircraft A-10 Thunderbolt II.
Sometimes MOAs are used by military aircraft that are in transit across the country.
Tuesday night, shortly before 11 PM, many residents reported hearing a loud boom. I checked with the military units that normally use the airspace in our county, 180th, 122nd, and the 127th and so far the 180th told me that they were not operating in the area last night. I have yet to hear back from the other two Air National Guard units.