Customs and Border Protection aircraft and Air Force F-16 participated in a training exercise known as Falcon Virgo 09-Windy City-One, July 21 in Chicago. Residents in the area were told to expect flights to occur during the late night and early morning hours beginning Tuesday at 1 a.m. and continuing through the scheduled exercise hours.
Falcon Virgo Windy City-Two and Windy City-Three are future exercises that have yet to be scheduled.
The training exercises are carefully planned and closely controlled to ensure NORAD’s rapid response capability. NORAD has conducted exercise flights of this nature throughout the U.S. and Canada since the start of Operation Noble Eagle, the command’s response to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
The U.S. Department of Defense gave more specific aircraft details for a Washington D.C. version of Exercise Falcon Virgo.
Exercise Falcon Virgo will include two Civil Air Patrol Cessna aircraft, two Air Force F-16s and one Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopter. Residents may see these aircraft approaching and flying in the vicinity of the Washington D.C. area as part of this exercise during the late night and early morning hours from midnight through 6 a.m. on June 10.
Only one tweet reported about 2:00 a.m. from bcurc15:
“f16s over Chicago for the NORAD testing is the most beautiful sight and sound on this dark and silent night”
Twitter user elisharene observed people on the street:
Chicago loves its NORAD jets. People on the street like they’re about to see fireworks. Lawnchairs, beer, radio. I love it here.