116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Low-flying jets that rumbled Thursday night around Cedar Rapids — causing many to take to social media to wonder what the roar was — were a pair of F-16 Fighting Falcon military aircraft on a training mission from a Wisconsin Air National Guard unit.
At least two Eastern Iowa television stations reported last week that the 115th Fighter Wing based in Madison did not have jets in this area last Thursday when the craft were seen and heard. However, in an email Tuesday afternoon to The Gazette, the unit’s public affairs office confirmed that indeed it did.
“I just received confirmation from our operations group that Thursday night we had a formation of two F-16s that did instrument and approach training at both Cedar Rapids and Dubuque,” the 115th Fighter Wing’s public affairs office said in an email statement. “This was routine training with Air Traffic Control that did not involve any military maneuvers.”
F-16 SIGHTING IN CEDAR RAPIDS: check out the video from Jessica Noehl while she was at @fly_CID tonight. Says she saw two of the jets flying low.— Mitch Fick (@MCFick) April 23, 2021
We’re still figuring out why they’re in our neck of the woods. pic.twitter.com/nsXh4tHEBv
The Madison unit has flown nighttime training missions several times in recent weeks. The unit said that while most training missions are conducted in the daytime, pilots and maintenance crews are required to do some nighttime operations as part of their preparedness.
According to the Air National Guard, the F-16 has a wingspan of 32 feet, 8 inches, is 16 feet tall and 49 feet long. It can fly up to 1,500 mph.