Monday, April 22, 2013

Air Defense

Claim: "It has been standard operating procedures for decades to immediately intercept off-course planes that do not respond to communications from air traffic controllers," says the Web site "When the Air Force 'scrambles' a fighter plane to intercept, they usually reach the plane in question in minutes." So why was it on 9/11 it took F-16 jets over an hour to scramble and respond until it was too late?

Fact: In the decade before 9/11, NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command )intercepted only one civilian plane over North America: golfer Payne Stewart's Learjet, in October 1999. With passengers and crew unconscious from cabin decompression, the plane lost radio contact but remained in transponder contact until it crashed. Even so, it took an F-16 1 hour and 22 minutes to reach the stricken jet. Rules in effect back then, and on 9/11, prohibited supersonic flight on intercepts. Prior to 9/11, all other NORAD interceptions were limited tooffshore Air Defense Identification Zones. FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) spokesman Bill Schumann tells popular mechanics, After 9/11, NORAD and the FAA increased cooperation, setting up hotlines between ATCs (air traffic control) and NORAD command centers, according to officials from both agencies. NORAD has also increased its fighter coverage and has installed radar to monitor airspace over the continent  

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