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Boblo Boat, Ste Claire Tow, 9 / 11 / 2001


Sitting on the alpha taxiway, going through the checklist then doing the mandatory run-up…cell phone rings... I'm told that a jetliner has just hit one of the World Trade Center towers and terrorism may be involved. Soon I'm in the air heading downriver to catch up with the tow. As I fly over the Detroit River just minutes later, I turn on a navigation radio called an ADF, this picks up local AM stations, to hear local news channel report the second attack on the World Trade Center. Stunned, I continued to catch up with the tow. After spending ten minutes over the Ste.Claire, film exposed, I pick up a heading back to Detroit City. Contacting Metro Approach Control for clearance into there airspace, immediately, I am told that all U.S. airspace is now restricted, I am to land at the nearest airport. This would be Grosse Isle. I asked for special clearance to land at my home base, Detroit City Airport. The Controller, who would normally be authorized to give approval, asked me to standby. Minutes later, I am told that I am to contact Detroit City and land immediately without delay. Detroit City Tower demands that I land "straight in". Detroit City Airport was on Red Alert. I was to get my plane on the ground with every second counting.
I heard the remainder of the terrible news of 9/11 with fellow grounded pilots at the Detroit City Pilot Center.

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 Aerial Photography By: Don Coles,