AN EMERGENCY fighter jet had to be launched after air traffic controllers lost contact with an American military plane earlier today (Tues).
The plane, bound for Prestwick airport in South Ayrshire, eventually landed safely after suffering problems with its radio.
A source said the plane’s pilot will be “getting a hell of a debrief” after the landing this afternoon.
The American aircraft, a Beech 200 containing a pilot and one passenger, was flying to Scotland after an exercise in Germany.
A Typhoon fighter jet of 6 Squadron was scrambled from RAF Leuchars but was later stood down.
Dozens of emergency vehicles and unmarked cars could be seen rushing towards the airport after the incident.
A well-placed source said: “Wee dude in a Beech 200 from London Military stops talking, so he follows procedure and flys as he filed, all the way towards Prestwick, throwing in a few turns for good measure mind you in front of civil flights, nice.
“A fighter jet however is then scrambled from Leuchers as it’s raised to a possible highjack with terrorism potential.”
The source continued: “15 mins before the guy was due to land, an all black Mitsubishi Shogun, blues behind the grill and a dude in a suit and tie, Mach 1 it into [the airport]…I mean travelling!
“As I’m [going] down the M77, going towards Prestwick, all full tilt, there were another 3 all black and blacked out Shoguns with hidden blue lights.
“15 normal marked and unmarked police cars giving it full blues, one police defender and 4 police Armoured vans as well as two all Silver long wheel base Transits with hidden blues and twos!
“I’m thinking to myself, see when that guy lands, man is he getting a hell of a debrief!”
A spokeswoman from RAF Leuchars said: “There was a quick reaction launched from RAF Leuchars.
“Typhoons were launched in connection with standard procedure.”
A spokesman for Prestwick airport said: “A US Air Force aircraft with two people on board was inbound to Prestwick airport when it experienced a problem with its radio communications.
“An emergency was declared. We have procedures in place for such incidents.
“We monitored the situation closely and the aircraft landed safely.”
A statement from Strathclyde Police said: “At approximately 1340 hours on Tuesday 24th July, a small aircraft believed to belong to the American Military landed at Prestwick airport.
“A pilot and one passenger were on board.
“A short time before the aircraft landed they lost communication with air traffic controllers at Prestwick Airport and as such the appropriate response was triggered.
“Investigations are currently underway to find out why contact was lost with the aircraft. Prestwick Airport controllers were aware that the aircraft was expected to land following an exercise in Germany.
“We would like to reassure the public that there is nothing to worry about and that at no point was their safety compromised.”