The FAA restricts airspace on Carolinas coast for “national security effort” as President Biden orders to shoot down Chinese balloon

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© Chase DOAK

The United States and have been tracking the trajectory of a Chinese surveillance balloon flying at high altitude for several days over sensitive military sites on Friday. Today the Federal Aviation Administration has issued a ground stop for three airports in the Carolinas as a suspected Chinese spy balloon drifts through the area. President Biden has ordered the US Air Force to shoot down the balloon.

The administration also restricted airspace near Myrtle Beach between 12:45 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. EST (17:45 to 20:30 UTC) for “national security effort.”

The affected airports are Wilmington, North Carolina; Charleston, South Carolina; and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

The area of the Temporary Flight Restriction near Myrtle Beach is about 140 nautical miles wide, or about 20,000 square miles. This bans all aircraft from the airspace — mainly from the coastline from Charleston to Wilmington and areas to the south and east.

All aircraft that meet specific criteria during a ground stop must stay on the ground.

UPDATE: The balloon has been shot down over the Atlantic Ocean by a missile fired by one of the four F-22 Raptor fighter jets scrambled to get it down. U.S. Defense Official has stated that a F-22 from Langley Air Force Base fired 1 AIM-9X Missile at around 58,000 ft which hit the Chinese balloon which was flying at 65,000 ft.

Recovery is underway. The balloon has reportedly fallen off the Coast in water around 45ft deep so it is expected that recover operations will be relatively “easy”.

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