A highway patrolman high in California was a little confused when his onboard radar went off without another car in sight.
The mystery was quickly solved, though, when an F-16 Fighting Falcon flew overhead, streaking low and fast over the lonely patch of the winter road.
A video taken by Officer Chris Bol and shared by the California Highway Patrol station in the California desert suburb of Bishop shows the F-16 making a pass – not the first, as the officer filming has his camera ready to catch the fighter flying by his Ford Explorer.
According to the CHP, the radar in the patrol SUV was “going crazy” even though Bol couldn’t see another car anywhere. But then the jet came into view. It seems likely this wasn’t the jet’s first pass, though—the camera is positioned exactly to catch the fighter’s approach.
Bishop is in California’s high desert country. It lies in a relatively flat basin with mountains to the west and east, as the video amply demonstrates. It’s not surprising that the highway patrol’s onboard radar picked the fighter up relatively far away. The fighter approaches from the north or south and then veers off to the west or east.
An F-16 can fly at speeds greater than Mach 2, more than two times the speed of sound.
That means the fighter jet can hit in excess of 1,500 mph. The fighter in the video, however, was not going that fast.
These low-altitude flybys occur regularly in the area where the video was taken and are often picked up on the radar.
One California Highway Patrol officer at the Bishop station told Business Insider his radar once read out at more than 300 mph.