NORAD exercise planned for Washington, D.C.

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- North American Aerospace Defense Command and its geographical component, the Continental United States NORAD Region, will conduct an air exercise Sunday morning Aug. 23 over the National Capital Region, Washington, D.C. that will include gyrocopters and ultralight aircraft.

Sunday's exercise, named Falcon Virgo 15-13, will incorporate four of these small aircraft into the scenario. Flights are scheduled to occur during two separate intervals between 9 and 11 a.m. EDT. These aircraft will be flying within the FAA-established Special Flight Rules Area and may be visible to the public. Military aircraft will not be visible for this exercise and at no time during the exercise will NORAD assets attempt to intercept the aircraft.

In the event of inclement weather, the exercise will be rescheduled for Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015.

Falcon Virgo is comprised of a series of training flights held in coordination with the FAA, the National Capital Region Coordination Center, the Joint Air Defense Operations Center, and CONR's Eastern and Western Air Defense Sectors.

Falcon Virgo exercises are held periodically in the NCR to hone NORAD's intercept and identification operations as well as providing monthly training of personnel at the JADOC, NCRCC, CONR, and air defense sectors. Falcon Virgo 15-13 is different in that it will test NORAD's ability to identify and track low altitude, slow speed aerial vehicles operating in and around Washington D.C.

These exercises are carefully planned and closely controlled to ensure CONR's rapid response capability. NORAD has conducted exercise flights of this nature throughout the U.S. and Canada since the start of Operation Noble Eagle, the command's response to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

As the continental United States (CONUS) geographical component of the bi-national command NORAD, CONR provides airspace surveillance and control, and directs air sovereignty activities for the CONUS region. CONR and its assigned Air Force and Army assets throughout the country ensure air safety and security against potential air threats.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, CONR fighters have responded to more than 5,000 possible air threats in the United States and have flown more than 62,500 sorties with the support of Airborne Warning and Control System and air-to-air-refueling aircraft.