HOUSTON (AP) - The FBI and the Federal Aviation Administration
say they are investigating a report of a possible model rocket with
a flaming tail and a trail of smoke flying ahead of a Continental
The pilot reported the incident to air traffic controllers
shortly after take-off from George Bush Intercontinental Airport in
Houston yesterday morning. The flight continued without incident to
Although the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force is involved in the
investigation, officials say they believe the object was a model
The FAA says it does not yet know how high the rocket flew or
how close it came to the plane.
Continental Airlines spokeswoman Kelly Cripe declined to discuss
what crew members had seen aboard the Boeing 737, which carried 148
passengers. She says the plane did not change course and was not
Robert Morehead, an engineer and president of the Amateur
Spaceflight Association in Houston, said model rockets routinely
can reach as high as 40,000 feet. He said model rocket enthusiasts
are supposed to notify the FAA if a rocket is entering controlled
FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown tells the Houston Chronicle that
model rockets have crossed paths with planes before but have never
struck them. She also says the Memorial Day holiday weekend was a
good time for a launch.
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