Fouth quarter of 2001

An order issued by the Ministry of Defense on 23 October 2001 reinforces the no-fly zone over La Hague

WISE-Paris, 30 October 2001

[Posted 02/11/2001]

After the announcement on the 19 and 20 October of the positioning of ground-to-air missiles near La Hague, an operation that started on 26 October 2001, a regulatory text was issued to reinforce the military measures by broadening the no-fly zone over the site. The 23 October 2001 order issued by the Ministry of defense concerns in fact the creation of " a temporary no flying zone in the La Hague area ", and this from 25 October 2001 onwards, for an undetermined period.

Hence, the temporary no-flying zone concerns now an area of a radius that can reach 10 km and a unique height of 1524 meters (5000 feet), instead of 300 m for single-engined aircraft and 1000 m for multi-engined aircraft, formerly. (1)

Any plane infringing the dispositions of the new text is enjoined by radio to " land on the nearest airport outside this zone ". A refusal to obey would put on the alert fighter aircraft of the military air forces, which would attempt to contact again the plane once they intercept it. In the case the plane continues to ignore the indications of the fighters, the latter will fire a warning shot. Finally, should the plane present an apparent " threat ", the air forces would take more radical measures. (2)

The regulatory text is the logical continuation of the decision taken by the French government to protect some civil and military sites, among which the COGEMA reprocessing factory at La Hague ( The recent measures were taken after several small planes and helicopters chartered by journalists or tourists managed to fly near the La Hague site these last weeks without any reaction from the authorities. On 19 October 2001, Mycle Schneider, director of WISE-Paris was on board of a helicopter, chartered by the TV station France-2, that flew around the La Hague site at only several hundred meter distance and even closer to the Flamanville nuclear power plant and the Valognes spent fuel transfer station. One plane actually flew in low altitude directly over the site without being disturbed or intercepted.

Notes :

  1. "Arrêté du 23 octobre 2001 portant création d'une zone interdite temporaire dans la région de La Hague (Manche)":
  2. Air operations center, Centre de conduite des opérations aériennes (CCOA), telephone interview, 29 October 2001

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