Balloons Ordered To Land At APEC Summit


Anyone who thought airspace security for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Sydney, Australia this week was a lot of hot air found out differently if they breached it. And that included a couple of hot air balloon pilots who were ordered to make emergency landings as they approached the 45 nm exclusion zone. “We were waiting for them to send in the F/A-18s,” John Allen, one of the balloonists, told the Sydney Morning Herald. However, the pilot of a Cessna 337 didn’t have to wait long for some turbine-powered company as he was intercepted by a couple of Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18s when he busted the zone. The fighters fired flares to catch the attention of pilot David Brown, who’d apparently filed a flight plan for the route he took but left at a different time than specified on the flight plan. When authorities weren’t able to reach him by radio, they scrambled the Hornets. He was inside the exclusion zone but well away from the APEC venues. Brown wouldn’t talk about the incident but people on the ground watching it unfold were impressed. “These two fighter jets come out in the middle of nowhere and were flying flares at it,” a witness told Macquarie Radio. “Right over the top of Penrith, it was amazing. I’ve never seen anything like it.”