Update, Jan. 28, 3:35 p.m. See Berkeleyside’s update on this story.
Update, 2:56 p.m. FAA spokesman Ian Gregor identified the loud plane that flew over Berkeley as “an F-18 out of NAS Lemoore.” He said the Navy would know more. Berkeleyside will follow up.
Naval Air Station Lemoore is in Lemoore, California, about 40 miles south of Fresno.
Original post, 2:36 p.m. In the past hour, the Berkeleyside Twitter stream exploded after a loud low plane flew over Berkeley, setting off car alarms and scaring people across the city.
“Any word on why a plane just flew so close to downtown Berkeley that our building shook?” asked Elisa Proulx just after 1:40 p.m.
Wondered Steven Fruhmoto: “What in the heck was that roaring jet noise over Berkeley just now? Did Dick Cheney just do a flyover?”
Berkeleyside has called the Federal Aviation Administration to try to learn more. FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said he will see what he is able to find out.
In the meantime, readers have posted online about what they saw and heard.
Readers who called the Berkeley Police Department said they were told the plane was a fighter jet.
According to Caleb Linden, the jet looked like an F-15 and “was flying about 300-500 feet off the ground.”
According to some reports, the plane was “rocking” as it flew over Berkeley: “I saw the rocking motion too – like the pilot was goofing around, tilting the wings from side to side,” wrote lady actuary. “I went outside and saw it flying away over the hills, near the 24 tunnel. It was shaped like a Blue Angel type.”
She continued: It “scared the bejeezus out of me. And my cat fell off his perch on the neighbor’s porch.”
Gavin Wolfe said some co-workers told him they saw what appeared to be a jet fighter fly over the south end of the UC Berkeley campus and head east over the hills.
Most said they did not see the jet, due to low cloud cover, but were able to hear and feel it. Some described the sound as “terrifying” and “crazy loud.”
Wrote Jeannie Choe: “Fighter jet flying low as hell and LOUD as hell just woke up the baby. Also why is there a fighter jet in Berkeley?!”
Julian Hyde said he could hear the sound of a loud engine that lasted 10 seconds. Said bagaun, it was “15 sec of literally earthshaking jet roar.”
Wrote Siciliana Trevino, “faces went pale in the office, outside everyone was looking up, but I couldn’t see anything.”
Angela Shortt wrote that it may be tough to find an answer: “My experience growing up on Air Force bases is that you probably won’t find out if it was the military.”
One reader said he believes this video may show the flightpath of the plane over Berkeley.
Berkeleyside will update this post if we receive an answer from the FAA.