And the idiot award of the month goes to.….
A Sunwing Airlines flight bound for of all places the mecca of communism, Cayo Coco Cuba, had to return to Montreal’s Trudeau International Airport on Thursday while sporting US fighter jet escorts due to an unruly passenger making non-specific threats.
US Norad Region spokesperson confirmed that two US Air Force F-15 fighter jets, operating out of Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield, Massachusetts, scrambled to intercept the Sunwing flight near Albany, New York. Then they proceeded to escort it back to Montreal. Two Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18s from Canadian Forces Base Bagotville, in Quebec, monitored the situation from a distance, while the two US Air Force jets intercepted the flight, but steered clear of intercepting the Sunwing flight themselves.
The passenger who has been identified as 39-year-old Charalabus ‘Bobby’ Nassios by CTV Montreal, allegedly started issuing threats in mid-flight.
It appears the threats were made after Nassios seems to have had some type of meltdown at the airport before departure. He seems to have shared a series of very bizarre and awkward Facebook posts with his online friends before boarding the plane. He is scheduled to go in front of a judge on Thursday.
Via Daily Mail:
Six fighter jets from the United States and Canada were scrambled to respond to a commercial flight as it flew back to the airport after a customer threatened flight attendants and passengers mid flight.
The Sunwing Airlines Flight WG604 departed from Quebec’s Montreal Trudeau International Airport airport on Thursday evening, headed for Cayo Coco, Cuba, when the customer, identified as 39-year-old Charalabus ‘Bobby’ Nassios by CTV Montreal, allegedly started issuing the threats.
A Continental US NORAD — North American Aerospace Defense — Region spokesperson confirmed that two US Air Force F-15 fighter jets, operating out of Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield, Massachusetts, intercepted the Sunwing flight near Albany, New York and escorted it back to Montreal.
Procedures for interception of civilian aircraft in real life
There is a set of standard procedures defined by ICAO that includes radio communication and visual signals both for night and day. There are procedures both for the intercepting aircraft and for the intercepted aircraft. These are defined in annex 2 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, Rules of the air, and are repeated in the Aeronautical information publication (AIP) for each country in section ENR 1.12, Interception of civilian aircraft. Note that there might be some national differences.
The intercepting aircraft should try to contact the intercepted aircraft using 121.5 MHz, using the call signs Interceptor, Intercepted aircraft and Intercept control. If that fails the intercepting aircraft should try the ATC frequencies or try to contact the intercepted aircraft through the ATC.
Interception maneuvers for visual identification are split into three phases.
Phase I: The intercepting aircraft moves up on the intercepted aircraft to about 300 meters distance from behind and slightly above. The flight leader or lone intercepting aircraft take a position slightly ahead, above and normally to the left of the intercepted aircraft (or to the right if the intercepted aircraft is a helicopter) while maintaining a distance of about 300 meters.
Phase II: The flight leader or lone intercepting aircraft gently move in close enough to identify the intercepted aircraft type and identity and get other information required, while the rest of the intercepting aircraft continues to stay well clear of the intercepted aircraft.
Phase III: The flight leader or lone intercepting aircraft gently brakes away from the intercepted aircraft in a shallow dive, while the rest of the intercepting aircraft continues to stay well clear of the intercepted aircraft till they can rejoin the flight leader.
If the intercepted aircraft have to be redirected the flight leader takes up a position ahead, above and normally to the left of the intercepted aircraft making sure that its pilot can see the intercepting aircraft.
When intercepted the pilot of the intercepted aircraft should:
Follow instruction given by intercepting aircraft, interpreting and responding to visual signals as mentioned below
Notify ATC if possible
Try establishing radio contact with intercepting aircraft or intercept control using 121.5 MHz or if that is not possible 243 MHz, stating the aircraft identity and the nature of the flight
Set the transponder to 7700 (emergency) unless instructed otherwise
If instructions from ATC and intercepting aircraft differs, the pilot of the intercepting aircraft should ask for clarification while continuing to follow instructions from the intercepting aircraft.
What makes all this even odder is the fact that the Canadian Press is now reporting that this was the second incident involving a North American flight on Thursday night. A Delta Airlines flight heading for Beijing China had to return to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport after a passenger violently assaulted a flight attendant about 45 minutes into the flight. Passengers then heroically restrained the man until the plane landed back in Seattle. Airline officials stated that two people, including the flight attendant, were injured and taken to a local area hospital.