"Better To Overreact Than Not React At All"
When flying in military airspace, you've really got to watch
what you say these days. And you should probably leave your radio
A hapless pilot, flying back to Kansas City, MO Monday after
dropping off the pane's owner in Oklahoma, notified Vance Air Force
Base controllers he was entering their airspace. A controller asked
what his destination was, and the pilot declined to say because he
thought business competitors might use that information to steal
his clients, according to The Associated Press.
He told controllers he had to be careful because he worked "in a
hostile business environment" and spoke about a "hostile takeover"
of a company, according to Maj. Roger Yates of the Clay County
Then he apparently turned off his radio -- leaving the phrase
"hostile takeover" echoing in the controller's ears. When the
panicked controller tried to verify what had been said, there was
no response, said Yates.
Within minutes, VAFB F16s were scrambled and, after intercepting
the small plane just outside of Oklahoma City, escorted it to the
Clay County airport near Mosby.
The pilot was greeted by more than a dozen armed federal agents
and tactical deputies as they surrounded the plane. The pilot was
interviewed for hours by federal authorities who later determined
there was no threat and no charges would be filed.
"People should be very careful in this heightened state of
security about comments they make regarding airplanes and air
traffic," said FBI spokesman Jeff Lanza.
The plane's owner, Dr. Kenneth E. Mann said he travels regularly
to Oklahoma for work he performs at several hospitals. He said FBI
agents appeared at his home less than an hour after the incident.
He declined to identify the pilot as did authorities, according to
"Mistakes happen," Mann said, "and in the times we live in after
9/11, it's better to overreact than not react at all."