Monday, October 28, 2013
FAA History Lesson -- October 26, 1999
From the Update to FAA Historical Chronology 1997-2012 (A .pdf file)
"A Learjet, without a pilot in control, flew for almost four hours from Orlando, Florida, to a swampy grassland in South Dakota. The Learjet was shadowed by USAF and Air National Guard jet fighters, whose pilots reported that the aircraft's windows were frosted over, suggesting that it had lost pressurization. USAF pilots also reported that the Learjet meandered from as low as 22,000 feet to as high as 51,000 feet, but never strayed from a northwest heading. Pentagon officials said the military began its pursuit of the aircraft at 10:08 a.m., when two Air Force F-16 fighters from Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida on a routine training mission were asked by FAA to intercept it. The F-16s did not reach the Learjet, but an USAF F-15 fighter from Eglin Air Force Base in Florida got within sight of the aircraft and stayed with it from 11:09 a.m. to 11:44 a.m., when the military fighter was diverted to St. Louis for fuel. Fifteen minutes later, four Air National Guard F-16s and a KC-135 tanker from Tulsa were ordered to try to catch up with the Learjet, but got only within 100 miles. Two other Air National Guard F-16s from Fargo, North Dakota, intercepted the Learjet at 12:54 p.m., reporting that the aircraft's windows were fogged with ice and that no flight control movement could be seen. At 1:14 p.m., the F-16s reported that the Learjet was beginning to spiral toward the ground. Professional golfer Payne Stewart was killed in the crash. "
I hope you'll take a few moments and let your mind wander through this scenario. Ask a few questions. "How long does a verified Mode C remain verified?" "How much vertical spacing do you give to a Lear and 2 fighters that wander around from FL220 to FL510 and then to the ground?" I'm a big fan of The Book but some things aren't in The Book.
October 28, 2013