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 a F-16 Fighting Falcon flew overhead, streaking low and fast over the lonely patch of winter road.
The video, shared by and credited to Officer Chris Bol, shows a patrolman's Ford Explorer parked on the road, wind buffeting the camera microphone. Coming up from behind fast is a F-16 fighter jet, which flies on ahead and then banks to follow the road, rapidly fading from sight.
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.
As for the F-16, the video isn’t clear enough to show the two letter tail code that would explain which base it was from. The jet could have been from the Arizona National Guard or Hill Air Force Base in Utah. Hill’s two resident fighter wings are in the process of transitioning to the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter, but the base is for F-16 upgrade and repair work.