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NORAD to drill over Chicago airspace July 21 July 20, 2009

Posted by scmla in Drill Report.

DRILL REPORT: NORAD to drill over Chicago airspace July 21

Just released today…

When: July 21, 2009
Where: Chicago, Illinois
Who: North American Aerospace Defense Command, Federal Aviation Administration, Chicago Air Route Traffic Control Center, Chicago Terminal Radar Approach Control, the Continental U.S. NORAD Region, Customs and Border Protection and CONR’s Eastern Air Defense Sector.

From the NORAD website (http://www.norad.mil/News/2009/072009.html)
NORAD exercise planned for Chicago

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – The North American Aerospace Defense Command and its geographical component, the Continental United States NORAD Region (CONR), will conduct a one-day exercise, Falcon Virgo 09-Windy City-One, July 21 in Chicago.

The exercise comprises a series of training flights held in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration, Chicago Air Route Traffic Control Center, Chicago Terminal Radar Approach Control, the Continental U.S. NORAD Region, Customs and Border Protection and CONR’s Eastern Air Defense Sector.

Windy City Virgos are designed to hone NORAD’s intercept and identification operations, especially over newly-designed airspace around Chicago. Customs and Border Protection aircraft and Air Force F-16 will participate in the exercise. Residents in the area can expect flights to occur during the late night and early morning hours beginning Tuesday at 1 a.m. and continuing through the scheduled exercise hours.

In the event of inclement weather, the exercise will be rescheduled at a later date. Falcon Virgo Windy City-Two and Windy City-Three are future exercises that have yet to be scheduled.

These exercises are carefully planned and closely controlled to ensure NORAD’s rapid response capability. NORAD has conducted exercise flights of this nature throughout the U.S. and Canada since the start of Operation Noble Eagle, the command’s response to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

As the Continental United States geographical component of the bi-national command NORAD, CONR provides airspace surveillance and control, and directs air sovereignty activities for the CONUS region. CONR and its assigned Air Force and Army assets throughout the country ensure air safety and security against potential air threats.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, NORAD fighters have responded to more than 2,100 possible air threats in the United States and have flown more than 51,000 sorties with the support of Airborne Warning and Control System and air-to-air-refueling aircraft.

– 30 –

For more information on Falcon Virgo exercises, please contact CONR Public Affairs at (850) 283-8080, the on-call CONR Public Affairs Duty Officer (after 5 p.m. CST) at (850) 532-1649 or the NORAD Public Affairs Office at (719) 554-6889.

Followup Drill Articles!

Early morning military exercise in area skies
Pat Curry
July 21, 2009

If you were awake around 1 a.m. and saw high-flying aircraft zig-zagging over the city, those weren’t UFOs. They were F-16 fighter jets conducting a military exercise based on new flight path restrictions imposed by the Federal Aviation Administration over the Chicago area.

First Lt. Jared Scott from the Continental Unites States NORAD Region said the purpose of the early morning exercise was to hone pilots’ abilities to intercept aircraft flying in restricted airspace.

“Basically we acted as if a general aviation aircraft wandered into restricted airspace. The pilot’s job is to get the plane out of there. Usually this happens when a pilot is not aware, or they’re not communicating to a tower. We’ll scramble to find out what is going on,” Scott said.

Scott didn’t specify where the F-16s originated, but said in the event of any airspace violation, “We’d be there quick enough.”

“The FAA is responsible for determining what airspace is restricted, it’s our job to enforce it. This morning’s exercise appears to be successful,” Scott said.

For those who saw the few F-16’s in the sky this morning, some reported seeing flame trails coming from the engines, which is normal for the aircraft, according to Scott. At least two aircraft were reported over the lake, one going west near Roosevelt Road. Another aircraft could be seen coming from the north toward downtown. The exercise lasted about an hour, Scott said.

“Since 9/11, we’ve had alert sites around the country. These are monthly exercises. Tomorrow night we’ll have one in Washington D.C.,” Scott said.

According to NORAD’s Web site, the exercise was dubbed Falcon Virgo 09-Windy City-One, and was planned to ensure a “rapid response capability”. The Web site said the exercises are a direct response to the terrorist Sept. 11, 2001 airplane hijackings.

F-16 fighter jets conduct military test overnight
Craig Kanalley

Around 1 a.m. last night, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) successfully carried out a military exercise over the Chicago area involving F-16 fighter jets. The training involved at least one plane headed toward downtown from the north and another going west, according to witnesses.

The exercised is based on new restrictions placed on Chicago airspace and is a direct response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according to the NORAD Web site.

Some Chicago Twitterers were still awake at the time and noted the event.

  • Anna Ramirez
    ChicagoLatina80 Wait, I hear something, sounds like it’s getting closer. It sounds like thunder from far away. It comes and goes. It’s gotta be the planes 21 Jul 2009 from web
  • Dan Lopez
    4danlopez I just heard the Norad planes go by, they are louder than a regular plane. 21 Jul 2009 from TwitterFon
  • Anna Ramirez
    ChicagoLatina80 @4danlopez Yes, they are loud. It’s cool. 21 Jul 2009 from web in reply to 4danlopez
  • Anna Ramirez
    ChicagoLatina80 Listening to the F-16s fly by, I feel so patriotic. I know I’m a weirdo. 21 Jul 2009 from web
  • Brett Curcio
    bcurc15 @jdmel heard a loud sustained roar and saw two sets of rapidly flashing lights, guessing 2 f16’s in formation 21 Jul 2009 from Twitterrific in reply to jdmel
  • Red
    Retrogirl66 Norad flying planes at 1am last nite over chicagoland…omg they were SO loud! That & restless hubby woke me up off & on…so tired today! 21 Jul 2009 from mobile web

Not all were so lucky.

  • parshallnet
    parshallnet @stevewsop Had every intention of listening for the F-16s, until i fell asleep. Just have to wait for the Air Show in August i guess. 21 Jul 2009 from web in reply to stevewsop

Did you hear the F-16’s fly by? Have an interesting story to share? Let us know by leaving a comment or contacting us via Twitter @BTChicago.

NORAD air test set for 1 a.m. Tuesday
Staff report
July 20, 2009

If you happen to notice unusual airplane activity over the Chicago area very early Tuesday morning, do not be alarmed. It’s only practice, say officials of the North American Aerospace Defense command, aka NORAD.

That agency, in conjunction with the Continental United Stated NORAD Region, will conduct the test, titled Falcon Virgo 09-Windy-City-One, over several hours starting about 1 a.m. Tuesday morning, the agency said. Aircraft from the customs and border protection agencies and Air Force F-16s will be part of the operation.

If the weather is bad (and it doesn’t look like it will be), the event will be rescheduled. Two other practice sessions will be scheduled some time in the future.

F-16s To Take To Chicago Skies At 1AM
NORAD Testing Response To Possible Threats To Chicago Airspace
Jul 20, 2009

An F-16 fighter jet (File Photo)

Don’t be worried if you see – or hear – F16 fighter jets and helicopters over Chicago late Monday night.

NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, is scheduled to conduct a military exercise to test response to possible threats to Chicago’s airspace. There have been no reported threats.

The exercise is expected to begin at about 1 a.m. and will include F-16 fighters, helicopters and Customs and Border Control aircraft.



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