Small Plane Cited In Cheney Traffic Conflict

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An unidentified small private plane has been blamed as the cause of evasive action taken by Air Force Two, a military aircraft carrying Vice President Dick Cheney, early this month. The small aircraft came within 700 vertical feet and .44 mile (don't miss the decimal point) horizontally of Cheney's aircraft, setting off a traffic alert in the Air Force Two cockpit. Air Force Two was en route to White Plains, N.Y., at 7,500 feet when the conflict occurred, near Bridgeport, Conn., on Aug. 7. The FAA said Friday the event would not normally warrant an investigation, but because the vice president was involved, a report was sent to the Air Force. The National Air Traffic Controllers Association told Newsday that the controller on duty in the New York TRACON was a supervisor who had been called in, and was only minimally current on the system. "They only dabble in it," NATCA rep Dean Iacopelli said. "There is a real staffing crisis here." The FAA said both aircraft were flying VFR, and controllers were aware of the location of both aircraft at all times and acted appropriately.