Fighter Jets Scramble Over Central Jersey After Airspace Violations

Two small, private planes were intercepted for flying in restricted airspace.

By Karen Araiza
|  Tuesday, Sep 25, 2012  |  Updated 1:33 PM EDT
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Fighter Jets Intercept 2 Small Planes in NJ

Getty Images for NASCAR

Two F-22 fighters.

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Officials scrambled two fighter jets over central New Jersey after two private planes violated airspace restrictions.

The temporary restrictions were in place because of the annual gathering of the United Nations General Assembly.

FAA spokesman Jim Peters says at least one of the violations occurred west of New York City over Somerset County, New Jersey.

We spoke to Al Blondin, the Public Information Officer for NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command. He tells us two F-22 fighter jets were in the air within minutes, under orders to intercept.

"You can imagine that it's intimidating because these are fighter aircraft," Blondin said. "But that's our role."

Blondin said NORAD can't release specific information on the tactics used when pilots fly into restricted airspace, but did say, "As you can imagine, nothing gets someone's attention like a fully- armed fighter jet."

The two private planes, which were intercepted in separate incidents, were not in radio communication with the FAA when the fighter jets were sent in to respond. Both of the small planes did land, without incident, at Central Jersey Regional airport, according to this statement NORAD posted:

Two F-22 fighters under the direction of the North American Aerospace Defense Command intercepted two general aviation aircraft during separate responses who violated the temporary flight restricted area over the United Nations General Assembly today.

The fighters intercepted both aircraft over central New Jersey at approximately 11:00 a.m. EDT after they entered the temporary flight restricted area and were out of radio communication. Both aircraft landed at the Central Jersey Regional airport without incident.

NORAD's mission – in close collaboration with homeland defense, security, and law enforcement partners – is to prevent air attacks against North America, safeguard the sovereign airspaces of the United States and Canada by responding to unknown, unwanted and unauthorized air activity approaching and operating within these airspaces, and provide aerospace and maritime warning for North America. NORAD may be required to monitor, shadow, divert from flight path, direct to land and/or destroy platforms deemed a potential threat to North America.

NORAD is the bi-national Canadian and American command that is responsible for the air defense of North America and maritime warning. The command has three subordinate regional headquarters: the Alaskan NORAD Region at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska; the Canadian NORAD Region at Winnipeg, Manitoba; and the Continental NORAD Region at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. The command is poised both tactically and strategically in our nation’s capital to provide a multilayered defense to detect, deter and prevent potential threats flying over the airspace of the United States and Canada. 

 


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