…As Security Incidents Abound…


With any luck, the new system and the heightened awareness of TFRs during the campaign will help prevent incidents like the one near Milwaukee on Friday now counted among some 1,500 such incidents since Sept. 11, 2001. The Associated Press reported last week that military pilots now train up to four times a week to shoot down hijacked airliners. Fortunately, the pilot of a Cessna 210-5 that blundered unannounced into the three-hours-long, 30-nautical-mile TFR that veiled Milwaukee won the booby prize — a practice session formation flying with a couple of F-16s. He was forced to land at Crites Field, near Waukesha, after reaching within 20 nautical miles of the TFR’s bull’s-eye. The plane was registered to Tony Vendramin, of Hobart, Ind., and his son Tony Jr. said his father was undoubtedly mortified by the trouble caused. “He voted for Bush.” As embarrassed as the elder Vendramin might be, it might be of some comfort for him to know that he is part of a growing club of GA pilots who have invited military attention. NORAD spokeswoman Shelly Stellwagen told CNN that almost 5 percent of the security sorties flown by fighters involve a scramble or diversion. Since 9/11, there have been 1,500 such incidents against 32,000 sorties flown. And in this security-conscious world, it’s not just the military that is on high alert. An Indiana pilot found his airplane surrounded by police when he landed at Allegheny County Airport near Pittsburgh last Wednesday. Seems he got his transponder codes mixed up and dialed in the hijack number instead of the combination for the radio trouble he was trying to report.