: : ``Suffice to say this is a very lucky man to be alive
: : right now,'' Customs spokesman Michael Sheehan
: : said. ``We're glad the Cubans showed some restraint
: : and luckily he was able to make it back to America
: : safely.''
: - in other words, a sole nutcase decided to violate international laws of the air, not to mention international safety laws.
: By flying an unlisted civil flight into the airspace of another country, he was giving them carte blanche to shoot him down if they wanted to; they would have been legally well within their rights, even if it would have been viewed as a rather extreme reaction.
: Unlisted flights are a real hazard to air traffic at low level; if this klutz had hit an airliner and caused it to crash, the US Government would have been liable for a multi-million dollar claim. There are very good commonsense safety reasons for not violating another country's airspace without asking them first.
: The Cuban response was the standard in such cases; the intruder was politely but firmly escorted out of Cuban airspace; and the F-16s rendezvoused with the plane to make sure he didn't do anything even stupider and more illegal than he'd already done.
: It was especially stupid in this case; given that the US has dropped bioweapons on Cuba 26 times in the last 40 years, it would have been entirely understandable if they had decided to shoot him down rather than expose the citizens of Havana to attack.
: : Where are the big bad Mig jet fighter pilots? Excuse me? Could you speak up?
: : Oh, yes, of course, I should've known, they don't like real competition, an even match, like a flight of pissed of F-15 Eagles just itching to splash 'em.
: *covering eyes*
: So, Frenchy, you're advocating a full-scale war on the basis of the actions of one lone nutcase? Are you related to Gavrilo Princip, by any chance?
: Thank God that not everyone in the US is a gung-ho armchair warrior like you...
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$Just between me and you ole chum, I suspect that there's more to this episode that their telling us.
The facts are that the Cuban air defenses knew he was coming because the last time anything like this happened the Cubans blasted two defenceless private aircraft into oblivion while they were still off-shore.
This guy managed to waltz into Havana. And the chances are slim that he didn't in fact know that what he was doing was dangerous because he probably knew about the last shoot-down involving the Cuban nationals.
Got any theories?
PS Hint; Not to long ago some Chinese military leaders, as part of an exchange program designed to build 'confidence' between the US and China, were given a tour of some militarily sensitive areas. As I recall, some of those officers were given fam tours of operational facilities and check rides in some aircraft. Why?
It was a polite way of one nation saying to another, 'Look, bub, you wanna play games, fine, take a gander at this...'.
Of course I could be totally wrong.