DC air control warns pilots with laser flashes

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo., 20 May 2005. The Visual Warning System being fielded by North American Aerospace Command (NORAD), in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, will become operational Saturday, May 21, 2005.

May 23rd, 2005

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo., 20 May 2005. The Visual Warning System being fielded by North American Aerospace Command (NORAD), in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, will become operational Saturday, May 21, 2005.

This new security measure is designed to enhance air safety and security in the National Capital Region. It is a communication tool to warn pilots who have entered the NCR's restricted airspace -- the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) -- and cannot be contacted by radio.

It is a ground-based system that uses safety-tested, low-level beams of alternating red and green lights to alert pilots they are flying without approval in restricted airspace. The lights are designed so that illumination is eye-safe and non-hazardous at all ranges.

Only aircraft that are unauthorized, or unidentified, and unresponsive would be visually warned. The VWS is designed to prompt immediate action by the pilot to contact air traffic control and exit the restricted airspace.

For more information, see www.norad.mil or www.faa.gov.

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