NORAD exercise planned for skies over Chicago

By NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs | August 19, 2009

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – North American Aerospace Defense Command and its geographical component, the Continental United States NORAD Region will conduct a two-day air defense exercise over Chicago Aug. 22 and 23. 

Nicknamed Falcon Virgo 09-Windy City, the exercise is a series of training flights held in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration, Chicago Air Route Traffic Control Center, Chicago Terminal Radar Approach Control, CONR, and CONR’s Eastern Air Defense Sector.

These types of exercises, which are designed to hone NORAD and CONR’s intercept and identification operations, are carefully planned and closely controlled to ensure NORAD's rapid response capability.  Fighters from the Ohio Air National Guard’s 180th Fighter Wing based in Toledo and the Wisconsin ANG’s 115th FW based in Madison will participate, as will a Beechcraft Baron aircraft from Colorado Springs. 

Flights will begin at 10 a.m. Aug. 22 and 3 p.m. Aug. 23 and last about an hour each day. Aircraft will likely not fly at low levels.  In the event of inclement weather, the exercise will be rescheduled at a later date.

NORAD has conducted exercises of this nature throughout Canada and the U.S. since the start of Operation Noble Eagle, the command’s response to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

CONR, along with its Eastern and Western Air Defense Sectors, provides airspace surveillance and control and directs air sovereignty activities for the CONUS region.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, NORAD fighters have flown more than 53,000 sorties with the support of Airborne Warning and Control System and air-to-air-refueling aircraft.