Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fighters Respond to Intercept Aircraft

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo., Two F-16 fighters under the direction of North American Aerospace Defense Command intercepted a single-engine aircraft at about 10 a.m. EDT today near Muncie, Ind.

NORAD officials said they don't believe the incident is terrorism-related.

The Indiana Air National Guard F-16s are escorting the aircraft, which has not responded to radio calls. The F-16 pilots escorting the plane reported the pilot is unresponsive.

The civilian aircraft left Grand Rapids, Mich., on a post-maintenance flight and lost communications with ground air traffic controllers. At last report, it was flying generally south 60 miles northeast of Indianapolis, and may have been losing altitude.

The intent of military intercepts is to have the identified aircraft
re-establish communications with local Federal Aviation Administration air traffic controllers and instruct the pilot to follow air traffic controllers' instructions to land safely for further follow-on action, officials said.

NORAD is a bi-national Canadian and American command that is responsible for the air defense of North America and maritime warning.