Friday, 18. June 2004

Why was NORAD able to intercept Payne Stewart's tiny little plane in 4 minutes, but took forever to find 4 jetliners?

An example of how the air defense network normally responds to domestic emergencies is illustrated by the well-reported 1999 case of Payne Stewart's Lear jet. When the golfer's jet failed to respond to air traffic controller communications, F-16 interceptors were quickly dispatched. According to an Air Force timeline, a series of military planes provided an emergency escort to Payne's stricken Learjet starting about 20 minutes after contact with his plane was lost. 2

This contrasts with the long periods of time apparently hijacked planes roamed the skies of the Northeast on September 11th without any interceptions. 83 minutes elapsed between the time that Flight 11 veered off course and the Pentagon was hit, and 112 minutes elapsed between the time that contact was lost with Flight 11 and Flight 93 crashed.


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