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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 7:13 p.m., Thursday, October 11, 2001

Wayward Cessna causes security scramble

By Scott Ishikawa
Advertiser Transportation Writer

Hawai'i National Guard F-15 fighter planes today escorted a private plane flying above Honolulu with faulty plane identification equipment.

Residents all over Honolulu heard the Cessna 402 aircraft as it flew low over the city yesterday at about 11:30 a.m.

Honolulu airport officials had picked up the Cessna as an unidentified signal 20 minutes earlier south of Moloka'i. The plane was not in contact with air traffic controllers and not on an assigned beacon code that identifies each aircraft.

Maj. Charles Anthony, Hawai'i National Guard spokesman, said F-15 fighter jets were sent up to identify and escort the aircraft.

The pilot of the Cessna said he had difficulty with the plane's transponder, which helps air traffic controllers identify each aircraft on the radar. The plane made an uneventful landing at Honolulu International Airport.

Under new FAA regulations, general aviation pilots flying by instrument must provide a flight plan to authorities before taking off. Pilots flying by visual flight rules, however, have been severely restricted until further notice.

Anthony said F-15 fighters were also sent up two weeks ago to escort another private plane after it deviated from its flight plan without explanation

Reach Scott Ishikawa at sishikawa@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8070.