Let me get this straight. Some fellow is flying an aircraft (which can be a real handful at times, particularly at night...and if this fellow was
calling Mr. Bell, I'm fairly sure it was, indeed, night).
While flying in restricted airspace, he somehow sees jets that were being scrambled to intercept him. I can believe this part, becaue the jets would
be under orders to make themselves visible to a civilian aircraft. However, I find it really hard to believe that somebody who a) was for bloody
certain about to kiss his pilot's ticket adios for a while (if not forever) or b) felt himself to be in immediate, mortal danger, would have the time
and / or presence of mind to set up an air-to-ground phone link and call C2CAMWAB.
I also wonder...why does the military need a spotlight? It's not like the F-16 doesn't have a very effective air-search radar, and I'm fairly sure
that there's at the very least an approach-control radar at Area 51. A spotlight (particularly a single one) doesn't make sense.
This fellow also must've been part peregrine falcon, if his distance vision was good enough to see (and correctly identify, no less) a mobile railgun
being moved into position to shoot him down. As with the spotlight, even granting that he could see and ID a railgun, why not just use a missile? A
man-portable SAM would do the trick, so why haul out a railgun? For that matter, why use *anything* ground-based to shoot him down? Those F-16s could
more than handle the situation without help, and with them in the engagement zone, any ground-based fire ran the risk of hitting one of their own.
In short, it's a dramatic story, but it's not a logical chain of events. I can't say for certain that it was a fabricated event, but I can say that
I find it very unlikely for a variety of reasons. I can even explain the sudden end to the transmission. It's called a disconnect button. I use it on
telemarketers all the time.
As for being escorted out of restricted airspace, this is news? That's why it's called 'restricted', after all...and believe it or not, it's not
all restricted in order to hide fleets of UFOs and an alien base...though I'm sure those are better reasons than the possibility of finding your
Cessna in the middle of a life-fire training exercise, or ACM practice...or simply occupying (thanks to St. Murphy) the same bit of airspace as that
prototype X-whatever that's on final approach. I never said (nor meant to imply) that there was no way to get yourself shot down over Area 51...given
sufficient stupidity, anything can happen. What I did intend to point out is that a shoot-down is more than likely an option of last resort, since it
would generate more problems than it would solve.
And to answer your other question, yes, I do believe that an NTSB response team would be allowed to waltz into Area 51. A better question would be
"Do you really think they'd see anythiung that the USAF didn't want them to see?"
[edit on 15-5-2007 by Brother Stormhammer]