Saturday, June 04, 2005

French Fighter Jets Invade Atlantic City

What? The Charles De Gaulle actually made it to the middle Atlantic training range?

«Jun 3, 2005 3:25 pm US/Eastern(1010 WINS) (POMONA, N.J.)
Nine French fighter jets and a radar plane stayed overnight at Atlantic City International Airport after bad weather prevented them from returning to their aircraft carrier off the Virginia coast, authorities said Friday.

The planes, low on fuel, initially asked for permission to land Thursday at a United States military installation but lacked the clearance number, said Noel Clay, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department.

The planes, which had been conducting military exercises, then sought and received permission for emergency landings at the airport here around 3:45 p.m.

They were parked overnight on a Federal Aviation Administration ramp at the airport. Officials said they had clearance to take off at noon to return to the French aircraft carrier de Gaulle, off the coast of Virginia.

By 5 p.m., though plans had changed. The planes were to fly to a military base near Halifax, but it was unclear when they would take off.

There was a further complication, according to a broadcast report. One of the pilots tried to buy fuel Thursday and couldn't because he didn't have the available funds on his credit card, according to Philadelphia television station WPVI-TV.

Holly Baker, an FAA spokeswoman, said two of the pilots, accompanied by FAA security, stayed with the planes overnight. She could not confirm the report about the failed gasoline purchase.

Baker said initial FAA reports that a mechanical problem with one jet had caused them all to land were incorrect. There was no mechanical problem, she said.»

- Thanks to the one and only Valerie, a legend in Blogville.

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