An Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon was scrambled to intercept a civilian aircraft flying near President Donald Trump’s latest rally in Arizona Wednesday, setting off flares to get the aircraft’s attention, according to North American Aerospace Defense Command.
BREAKING: F-16 jets intercepted unknown aircraft flying over Trump’s rally in Arizona—flares deployed to signal to unknown aircraft an exit of restricted airspace is required. (NORAD) https://t.co/DGHzvsnTqF
— SV News 🚨 (@SVNewsAlerts) October 28, 2020
The fighter jet was dispatched to investigate “a general aviation aircraft that was not in communication with [Air Traffic Control] and entered the Temporary Flight Restriction area surrounding Bullhead City, Arizona, without proper clearance,” NORAD said in a tweet. The incident occurred around 2 p.m. local time.
“The violating aircraft was non-responsive to initial intercept procedures, but established radio communications after NORAD aircraft deployed signal flares,” said officials with the command, which oversees North American operations, to include homeland defense. “The aircraft was escorted out of the restricted area by the NORAD aircraft without further incident.”
(1/2) At approx. 1400 MDT, NORAD F-16 aircraft investigated a general aviation aircraft that was not in communication with ATC and entered the Temporary Flight Restriction area surrounding Bullhead City, AZ without proper clearance. #WeHaveTheWatch
— North American Aerospace Defense Command (@NORADCommand) October 28, 2020
Flares are often used as a countermeasure against heat-seeking missiles targeting an aircraft, but can also be used to get the attention of a pilot not communicating with air traffic control. They are not considered munitions.
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