“This Is Only a Test”

Fifty years ago, cold-war games halted all civilian air traffic—long before September 11 did the same.

Air traffic controllers from NORAD take over the civilian positions in the tower at Washington National Airport during the Skyshield II exercise. (National Archives and Records Administration)
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The entire U.S. civil fleet would not be grounded again until September 11, 2001—and then for days instead of hours, and with devastating financial and pyschological costs.

A researcher at Air & Space magazine, Roger A. Mola is working on a documentary film, Skyshield: This is Only a Test, based on this article, which appeared in our February/March 2002 issue. Mola can be reached at operationskyshield@yahoo.com. 

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