The skies are empty over Deadhorse, as a highly unsual Federal Aviation Administration flight restriction has been placed around Prudhoe Bay, Deadhorse, and Kuparuk, as a U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft, a Combat King II, circles the area at an altitude of 3,225 feet. (Update: The C-130 has dropped in altitude and is traveling at 170 mph.)
Update: Must Read Alaska can confirm that at 1:45 pm Eastern Time, the military shot down another unidentified object at 40,000 feet offshore near Deadhorse, Alaska.
The TFR is listed as pertaining to security, rather than hazards or VIP movement. Aviation sources are speculating the Air Force has its eye on a submarine.
Alaska Airlines Flight 5131 passengers, with workers for the North Slope, were holding at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport on Friday morning.
“The object was flying at an altitude of 40,000 feet and posed a reasonable threat to the safety of the civilian flight,” National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby said at a press briefing at the White House, adding that the object was a reasonable threat to civilian flights. “Out of an abundance of caution and at the recommendation of the Pentagon, President Biden ordered the military to down the object, and they did, and it came inside our territorial waters.”
The object was much smaller than the China spy balloon that was shot down on Saturday off of Myrtle Beach, S.C. It’s the side of a small car, he said. A recovery effort is expected, which may explain why two Blackhawk helicopters are en route.
Yesterday, another unusual activity occurred in the skies of Alaska, as a commercial jet from Anchorage to Red Dog Mine was diverted to fly nearly to Nome before it was able to swing back to Red Dog near Kotzebue. Normally jets take a straight line from Anchorage to Red Dog. It is unknown if these two aviation anomalies are related.
The temporary flight restriction around Prudhoe Bay today is the same as the TFR was posted along the South Carolina coast before the China spy balloon was shot down last Saturday. The TFR is from the ground to 60,000 feet, the altitude of the spy balloon.
The Department of Defense has put a lid on all communications with FAA, Must Read Alaska has learned.