NORAD, the U.S. and Canada's North American Aerospace Defense Command, will conduct an exercise over Washington, D.C., on May 15 to test the aerospace defense of what’s called the national capital area.
The exercise, Falcon Virgo, entails Air Force F-16s, Coast Guard H-65 Dolphin helicopters and Civil Air Patrol Cessnas. Residents in the area can expect flights to occur shortly after midnight and into the early morning of May 15. The exercise should wrap up later that morning. In the event of inclement weather, it will be cancelled.
A “number” of Falcon Virgo exercises have taken place since 9-11. The most recent one over Washington was in March.
The exercise is always held in the middle of the night to not interfere with civilian air traffic, according to Pentagon spokeswoman Air Force Lt. Col. Almarah Belk. “The aircraft involved follow all noise abatement procedures.”
The military said it coordinated with the FAA – but since the very inopportune photo op over New York City recently, it’s the public that needs to know – and here DOD gets credit for trying to get the word out.
Still, I’m not sure what it would take to spook Washington-area residents. I’ve lived here since late 1999, not far from the Pentagon, and even school kids become amateur experts in identifying military aircraft. Heck, the President's helicopter once flew so close over me while I played Ultimate on the National Mall that I swear an errant Frisbee could have hit it.
Well, maybe not Marine One – please, Secret Service, I didn’t mean anything by that. Please, please, please; nothing at all.