F-15 jets check out Middlebury 'false alarm'

MIDDLEBURY-A pair of high-speed U.S. military F-15 jets buzzed the Middlebury State Airport several times during the early afternoon April 2.

According to an e-mail dispatch by Peter Fisk of the Green Mountain Flyers Chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association based in Rutland, a pilot at the Middlebury airport accidentally triggered an incorrect "distress" transponder code that prompted a pair of F-15s to intercept via the New Hampshire area where U.S. President Obama was giving a speech.

The airport manager in Middlebury was apprently notified by the military that F-15s were approaching within 3.5 mile of the rural field; the jets were traveling at 568 KPH, according to the e-mail message. The airport manager reportedly flagged down the private aircraft as it was taxing.

"One F-15 bugged out over the ridge and the other maintained a one mile or less steep turn at approx 1,500 feet to keep a visual on the aircraft in question for about 20 minutes," according to the Green Mountain Flyers message. "After the pilot of the intercepting aircraft got the all clear, (a jet) flew down the runway 19 for a closer look before bugging out."

The airport incident ended as quickly as it began.

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