CHEM-SNIFFING PLANE OVER RNC

Plume_plane_03.jpgI think it's uber-unlikely that terrorists are going to blast New York with chemical weapons during the RNC. But, just in case they do, the Environmental Protection Agency is ready.The EPA has a twin-propeller Aero Commander 680 plane, refitted with sensors and software to become a flying chemical detector. And since it became operational in 2001, this ASPECT (short for Airborne Spectral Photometric Environmental Collection Technology) plane has been deployed 36 times throughout the country, to track industrial accidents and potential terrorist targets."The missions [have] rang[ed] from a chlorine-spilling train derailment near San Antonio, to the 2002 Olympic Games, to the crash of the space shuttle Columbia (with its release of toxic fuel). Normally based outside of Dallas, the aircraft has been sent to both of this year's political conventions," GovExec.com says. "It is currently standing by at an area airfield near New York City."

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