The temporary grounding of air traffic along the West Coast of the United States and Hawaii led The Drive to label the event a “Mysterious Air Traffic Halt” that “Leaves More Questions Than Answers.”
Here are the facts: On Monday, at about 2:30 p.m. PST, a “ground stop” was issued by the FAA, halting air traffic for up to ten minutes.
CNN reports that a San Diego International Airport spokesperson said the airport “was instructed by Air Traffic Control that there was a national ground stop.”
The Western Journal reports that “despite multiple…instances of pilots and air controllers” in western states using the term, “national ground stop,” the North American Aerospace Defense Command denies issuing a national order.
The Journal also reports that a controller at Burbank told one plane, “I need you to go ahead and land at Van Nuys at this time; some sort of national security threat is going on.”
A Twitter post includes a recording of an air traffic controller warning:
“There is something going on….we may have to scramble fighters…”
CNN reports that the grounding was a “precaution after a North Korean missile launch,” and that Chief NORAD spokesperson Captain Pamela Kunze said, “No warning was issued by NORAD HQ regarding a potential threat to the U.S.”
The FAA tweeted an explanation for the grounding, stating that it was erring on the side of caution in the face of limited information. Their statement reads:
“As a matter of precaution, the FAA temporarily paused departures at some airports along the West Coast on Monday night. Full operations resumed in less than 15 minutes. The FAA regularly takes precautionary measures. We are reviewing the process around this ground stop as we do after all such events.”
Authorities have confirmed North Korea’s “hypersonic” ballistic missile launch prompted the groundings. The missile was the third such launch in 10 days and traveled 700 kilometers (about 435 miles).
Writers for The Drive website allege that the “mysterious” and possibly “national” grounding of air traffic signals both a recognition of North Korea’s new weapons capabilities and new FAA policies established to deal with the threat.
“If the North Korean missile test was miscategorized as a possible threat, even if briefly, there may be new protocols in place since the rogue Kim regime achieved ICBM capability to alert the FAA and issue a halt on operations,” the site reads.
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