The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) will conduct training flights over the Washington, D.C., area next week in preparation for responding to "unknown and potentially threatening aircraft."
NORAD, an aerospace defense collaboration between the United States and Canada, announced in a press release that it will fly calibration flights over the southeastern Washington, D.C., area on Monday and Tuesday next week.
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The flights "will be performed by a civilian Beechcraft King Air aircraft flying patterns at approximately 3,000 feet above ground level," according to a NORAD release.
"These flights have been carefully planned and will be closely controlled," said NORAD. "The flights are intended to assist in calibration of systems and equipment, and training, and will serve to refine and improve our ability to response to unknown and potentially threatening aircraft."
The operations are part of NORAD’s Operation Noble Eagle, which was launched following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Similar test flights have been carried out throughout both the United States and Canada as part of the operation.
Two weeks ago, a Florida man was able to fly a gyrocopter through restricted airspace and eventually land it just next to the U.S. Capitol.
Next week's flights will occur in the early morning hours between 11:30 p.m. and 5:30 a.m.