FAA’s Statement On Mysterious Air Traffic Halt Leaves More Questions Than Answers

The Federal Aviation Administration has at last place out an official statement pertaining to a still pretty mysterious floor prevent buy that it issued to all aircraft in the western U.S. and Hawaii yesterday all-around 2:30 PM PST. Even though the incident is now confirmed, there are nonetheless a significant selection of unanswered concerns, which include the most vital 1: what induced this final decision in the initially area? You can get up to speed initial on what The War Zone experienced been able to decide in our initial reporting here

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued their assertion just in advance of 9:40 AM PST this afternoon, more than 20 several hours following the order was sent. The War Zone experienced now reached out to the FAA with a number of simple thoughts concerning the function, but we have even now not been given a direct reaction.

FAA’s full statement, so considerably, pertaining to this incident, is as follows:

As a subject of precaution, the FAA quickly paused departures at some airports together the West Coastline on Monday night. Comprehensive functions resumed in much less than 15 minutes. The FAA often will take precautionary measures. We are examining the procedure around this ground stop as we do immediately after all such events.

This assertion is straight away curious for a amount of causes. For one, publicly offered recordings of air site visitors controllers on the floor speaking with pilots at the time demonstrate that this pause was not confined to the West Coast of the continental United States. For occasion, pilots in Honolulu, Hawaii had been specified very similar recommendations.

Just one source, a pilot flying into Yuma, Arizona, which lies around 150 miles inland from the West Coast, advised The War Zone that the inform experienced been explained to them as “nationwide ground halt.” This also highlights that we know that the halt purchase did not only affect departures. Other air targeted traffic command recordings make clear that even some aircraft were being purchased to land as quickly as feasible, as nicely.

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The FAA statement tends to make no mention of what prompted it to consider this “precaution,” possibly. Air targeted traffic controllers at Burbank in California can be heard in a single recording referencing an unspecified “national protection risk.”

There had been reviews, as nicely as normal speculation, that the floor stop may well have been similar to a North Korean missile start that happened proper at just about the similar time that FAA issued its buy. This was not entirely out of the realm of purpose. A Russian missile drill led to a untrue alarm about an incoming ballistic missile flying toward Ramstein Air Base in Germany, a key U.S. Air Force hub, in 2020. North Korea has been establishing a slew of new and enhanced ballistic missiles in latest a long time, some of which have the ability to access the United States, including Hawaii, as effectively as more compact outlying territories in the Pacific.

When we arrived at out to U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM) before right now, a general public affairs officer there declined to verify or deny whether or not that launch was at any time classified as a threat to the United States or any of its outlying territories, and referred all our queries to the FAA. A spokesperson for the U.S.-Canadian North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) separately explained to The War Zone that it experienced not issued any alerts of its have relating to North Korea’s start or any other opportunity threat that experienced then triggered FAA’s reaction, refuting a report before now from CNN. That exact same outlet later reported that an official at NORAD had informed it that the North Korean launch was swiftly decided to not pose a risk to the United States.

There is surely no shortage of other prospective resources of threats, serious or claimed, that could have prompted FAA to act. In January 2021, it emerged that air targeted visitors controllers in New York experienced heard a menace come about the radio, but considered it to be not credible. “We are flying a aircraft into the Capitol on Wednesday. Soleimani will be avenged,” a digitized voice reportedly mentioned, a reference to the U.S. killing of Iranian Normal Qassem Soleimani in Iraq the year in advance of on Jan. 3. 

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We even now you should not know what variety of details STRATCOM conveyed to the FAA or if they conveyed any risk information at all relating to the North Korean examination start. That remaining mentioned, the reality that NORAD reported it did not problem an inform of its possess and did not deem this missile to be a menace helps make all of this the much more curious. We reviewed the major problems that exist when it arrives to accurately categorizing and responding to North Korean missile launches in our original reporting. 

Some other variety of reported danger, real or not, a computer system hack of specified FAA systems, or even just a blatant blunder of some type, are also possible explanations for what could have took place that have very little to do with the North Korean missile take a look at. We just never know at this time.

What we do know is that the FAA’s statement is incredibly minimal thinking of the vacuum of information and facts encompassing what was a significant function. Not only does it not tell the entire story, it tells no story at all as to how this happened or why. We hope to receive a response to our inquiry from the company to support obvious up the situation and get to the base of particularly what occurred. 

We will carry on to update this tale with more facts as it gets accessible.

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