- The Washington Times - Monday, May 5, 2014


Journalists are fascinated with reports that a U-2 “Dragon Lady” spy plane recently disrupted commercial aircraft service near Los Angeles by triggering an overload of air traffic control tracking systems, and thus delaying hundreds of flights. Much jaunty and speculative coverage soon emerged.

Questions are cropping up, however.

“But aren’t these aircraft flying daily around there?” asks David Cenciotti, founder of The Aviationist, a blog covering military aircraft.

It would seem so.

In its exclusive coverage, NBC News referred to the U-2 as a “Cold War relic” that “fried” computers in its coverage, claiming the aircraft had originated at Edwards Air Force Base, 30 miles north of Los Angeles.

Mr. Cenciotti suggests that the U-2 in question was likely from Beale Air Force Base near Sacramento, adding it’s “worth noticing” that U-2s have been flying at 60,000 feet and above for 50 years. The RQ-4 Global Hawk - an unmanned surveillance aircraft introduced in 2001 - also flies at that altitude, and it’s also found at Beale.

“For this reason it seems at least weird that a U-2 transponder triggered the problem only on Apr. 30. What if it was another kind of plane? Something relatively new, like those mystery planes spotted in Kansas and Texas?” he asks.

Well, that’s interesting. That’s a thought. Connecting the dots, the quartet of triangular, reportedly silent mystery aircraft were spotted near Wichita and Amarillo in March. And one more thing. Those following the story also suggest a “hack attack” on the LA airport systems is to blame, rather than the presence of flying disruptor.

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