The Federal Aviation Administration declared a “National Defense Airspace” with restrictions over part of northern Lake Michigan near Green Bay and Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin at 11:02 a.m. CT Sunday, February 12, 2023.
The FAA did not initially clarify the reason for the civilian air traffic restriction of northern Lake Michigan, but a NOTAM alert #3/4885 provided possible consequences to pilots that don’t adhere to the restricted airspace alert.
Consequences to pilots that fail to adhere to the flight restriction could include …
civil penalties and suspension or revocation of airmen certificates,
deadly force if an aircraft is considered a threat, and
interference, disruption, seizure, damage or destruction of unmanned aircraft if the unmanned aircraft is deemed to be a credible threat.
Observers of some military aircraft flights available on websites and apps indicated that a USAF E-3B Sentry appeared to be approaching the specific Lake Michigan area.
The restriction was lifted by early afternoon, and at about 12:50 p.m. CET a British Airways A380 flying from London to Dallas was flying through the formerly restricted area, along with other aircraft. Other aircraft in the area included an Atlas Boeing 747 cargo jet flying from Anchorage to New York, and a Delta/SkyWest Embraer.
Also, preceding 1:00 p.m. Sunday, February 12, 2023, a USAF Boeing E-3B Sentry was tracked from southwest of Chicagoland, and flew over DeKalb, Sycamore, Carpentersville, downtown Barrington, an area between Kemper Lakes Business Center and Heron Creek Forest Preserve, Vernon Hills, Gregg’s Landing North, downtown Libertyville, an area between Gurnee Mills Mall and Six Flags Great America, Van Patten Woods Forest Preserve, the Kenosha Regional Airport, downtown Milwaukee, and continued north along the lakefront. At about 1:05 p.m. the USAF Boeing E-3B Sentry was circling around Fond du Lac and Sheboygan, Wisconsin at about 31,000 feet. Later the USAF AWAC flew northeast toward Sturgeon Bay.
A KC-135 refueling aircraft this afternoon has also been circling over Traverse City, Michigan and east of Traverse City over the Au Sable State Forest and Huron National Forest in Michigan — east of Lake Michigan. An H60 Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk was up in the air northeast of Traverse City over Charlevoix.
Yesterday, Saturday, February 11, 2023, the FAA declared National Defense Airspace over Montana in reaction to an unidentified flying object or anomaly that was detected on radar. Pilots in fighter jets could not match a visible sighting that corresponded to the radar.
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