It got very busy in the New York skies today when a wayward Cessna belonging to the United States Army got lost in the restricted airspace around New York which was in place to protect the Annual General Meeting. United Nations, which President Biden attended. The light aircraft was intercepted by F-16C Vipers from the 187th Fighter Wing of the Alabama Air National Guard – the notorious Red Tails – who were on temporary duty to conduct air patrols for the high-profile event. We now have very rare audio of radio communications between air traffic control and the Vipers, which usually communicate over UHF so they are not recorded on standard VHF frequencies, trying to find the plane, intercepting it, then the Cessna pilot’s response.
As you can hear below, the action started around 2:00 p.m. local time. One of the F-16s registers with the New York approach using the NOBLE 12 call sign and has requested vectors to the TOI, or target of interest. The fighter pilot struggled to find the Cessna on radar, which is not surprising for a small, low-flying plane operating around a metropolis like New York. From there, the interception takes place. You can feel how complex and crowded the airspace is.
The original audio is via the awesome LiveATC.net: