Payne Stewart Response: 19 Minutes, Hey Presto … On October 25, 1999, at 9:33 a.m. air traffic controllers in Florida lost touch with a Learjet carrying golfer Payne Stewart and several companions after it left Orlando headed for Dallas, Texas. Nineteen minutes after Air Traffic Control realized something was wrong, one or more US Air Force fighter jets were already on top of the situation, in the air, close to the Learjet. Moreover, throughout the course of its flight, Payne Stewart's jet was given escort from National Guard aircraft coordinated across state lines. See "Golfer Payne Stewart Dies," October 25, 1999, at: http://abcnews.go.com/sections/us/DailyNews/plane102599.html or read the National Transportation Safety Board report on Payne Stewart's flight: http://www.ntsb.gov/Publictn/2000/AAB0001.htm or http://www.Public-Action.com/911/stewart (There are minor discrepancies between the ABC and NTSB reports.) That was the response when a small private jet lost radio contact with air traffic control over a relatively sparsely populated area in Florida. Compare that to what was done when they lost communication with four commercial passenger jets flying over the populous northeast on September 11, 2001.