A Threat to National Security or Another day with the Personal Emergency Services

Flew for about an hour and a half this morning in Animas Valley to take photos for the project photo-documenting the bootheel of New Mexico. As I approached highway 338 heading south from Antelope Pass there they were coming towards me driving north, the emergency crews in their trucks, or were they Border Patrol, they were Border Patrol. I waved as I passed them and flew south down 338 at various altitudes getting photographs of the scenery and prominent landmarks for this project. The further south I flew the more Border Patrol vehicles I saw. As I passed each Border Patrol Vehicle I waved and when I looked behind me there they were, following me down the valley. They had dutifully turned around and were following along. My airspeed was about 70 and they started to fall behind. The highway turns to dirt partway down the valley and they fell further back once they were driving on the dirt road. I reached the Pleistocene Lake Cloverdale and dropped low for photographs of the paleo shoreline and the surrounding hills. I finished up and climbed back up a little ways and started heading back north. There in the distance were several plumes of dust from the dirt road, the emergency service vehicles had yet to catch up. I'm certainly glad I did not have any problems while photographing the Ice Age Lake Cloverdale, I would have had to wait a good while for them to reach me. I passed them still going south as the aircraft was headed north. I looked back again and they had turned around and were now all headed north. When I landed I mentioned the Border Patrol following me and found out a call from Home Land Security in Washington had been made. They want to know if I'm a legitimate target they can launch assets against. I never considered myself a particular threat to anyone but if they want to spend money "launching assets" from Washington against a weight shift control aircraft that is their business, I'm just photographing the countryside. I did feel safer with the Border Patrol following me around, but now I guess I will have to look out for flying "assets" in addition to other air traffic.

The final photos from the bootheel will appear on Flickr and at some point may appear on Google Earth.

Click to enlarge


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