As editor of AINalerts, I recently asked readers to share their accounts of 9/11, so I thought it only fair to share my own story from that tragic day. At that time, I was living in Northern New Jersey and working out of AIN’s editorial offices in Midland Park, N.J.
North American Aerospace Defense Command
Tomorrow marks the 50th anniversary of Operation Skyshield, one of the largest air drills in U.S. history. Operation Skyshield, which took place on Sept. 10, 1960, tested the ability of the U.S. to detect and defend against an assault by air. During the joint U.S.-Canadian military exercise, all civilian aircraft in North America were grounded. The exercise was repeated twice more–on Oct. 14 and 15, 1961, and a third time on Sept. 2, 1962.
The commission investigating the 9/11 terror attacks is subpoenaing documents it says the FAA has withheld. The documents ostensibly would clear up an apparent conflict on when ATC first notified the North American Aerospace Defense Command that airliners had been hijacked. The FAA testified that Norad was notified almost immediately, but Norad testified it wasn’t notified for 30 minutes.
FAA actions on 9/11 “demonstrated the urgency and initiative of many employees who were acting under intense pressure,” the agency said in a response to the findings last month of the 9/11 commission. But, the commission noted, the FAA faced a situation it had “never encountered or trained against” and no one involved had “perfect information” that morning.
When a Mooney strayed to within eight miles of the White House in October, a flight of F-16s reportedly intercepted it and safely escorted the disoriented pilot out of harm’s way.
Beginning later this month, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad) will use aircraft-specific laser lights to warn errant pilots they have strayed into the Washington, D.C.-area Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).
The FAA and general aviation organizations have stepped up efforts to inform pilots flying in the airspace around the Washington and Baltimore areas about a new laser light system the North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad) is using to warn unauthorized aircraft they have violated the national capital region air defense identification zone (ADIZ) and/or the smaller flight restricted zone (FRZ) within it.
The transcripts from the first of two public hearings on the proposed Washington, D.C., air defense identification zone (ADIZ), which were removed from the Internet at the request of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), were reposted April 12 without any reactions.