Super Hornets from Amberley behind earth-rattling night
UPDATE: Residents across the region felt the earth move as Super Hornet jets from RAAF Base Amberley conducted training in airspace over Toowoomba last night.
Loud window-rattling jolts from 7pm onwards had residents searching the skies, with many assuming fallen trees or nearby explosions were to blame.
The Defence Department has set the record straight.
"Air Force apologises for the disruption to communities west of RAAF Base Amberley (on Wednesday) night," a Defence spokesman said.
"F/A-18F Super Hornets were undertaking essential 'intercept' training in the 'western airspace' of RAAF Base Amberley, which incorporates the Toowoomba region.
"The western airspace is an essential training area for all RAAF Base Amberley aircraft, including F/A-18F Super Hornets, KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transports, and C-17A Globemasters.
"Regrettably the training was louder than anticipated, and some residents experienced more aircraft noise than usually occurs, when Air Force uses the western airspace."
The Air Force has launched an investigation into the cause of the above-normal noise levels.
"Although aircraft noise will never be eliminated, Air Force is doing everything it can to reduce noise impacts on communities, whilst balancing essential operational and training requirements for Australia's security."
More flight training over Toowoomba is scheduled tonight, to be completed by 9pm.
Daytime flying in the airspace is expected to continue tonirriw with flying to complete about 5pm.
"There are currently no planned flights for the western airspace next week, however, some day flying is planned for the following week (September 2 to 6)," the spokesman said.
9AM: Toowoomba residents have used social media to hit out at the Australian Defence Force for failing to alert the community to planned air exercises.
Homes were shaken and a loud rumbling was heard across the region last night, sparking several triple-0 calls.
The noise and shaking were caused by exercises being conducted by low-flying Australian Defence Force aircraft.
On The Chronicle's Facebook page, people were critical they were not told of the exercises.
"It obviously scared a lot of people, so I do think they should inform people if and when this will be happening in future to avoid confusion and scaring people!" Jo Bauer wrote.
"I think the public should be notified in advance via 6pm news or newspapers so that people don't panic that it's a war breaking out like the movie Red Dawn," Cathie Nigel Allen said.
Should the Australian Defence Force alert the community to low-flying exercises over Toowoomba?
This poll ended on 22 September 2013.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
WEDNESDAY: Some panicked residents called triple-0 tonight when homes started shaking and a loud rumbling noise was heard in and around Toowoomba about 7pm.
Police said the noise and shaking was caused by exercises being conducted by low-flying Australian Defence Force aircraft - and not an earthquake or explosion as some guessed.
The Toowoomba Police duty sergeant said communications staff had fielded a number of triple-0 calls, and had consequently confirmed the exercises with the Oakey army base.
Social media was full of speculation and observations about the shaking.
"House n windows shook, loud boom/rumble sound. Scared everyone in the neighbourhood! Wish we were prepared!" Kylie Halsey wrote on The Chronicle's Facebook page.
"Shook the house, pictures all crooked, sounded like a loud explosion…Glasses fell off the sink," Amanda Finlayson wrote.
The shaking was felt in areas both within Toowoomba and as far south as Pittsworth.