Brothers to the Rescue’s (BTTR) aircraft encountered MiGs from Fidel Castro’s Air Force in international airspace, North of Cuba, for the first time on July 21, 1991. This incident, identified in the US Coast Guard document dated July 23, 1991, in Tab 11 of this dossier, resulted in the dispatch of US interceptors from Homestead Air Force Base. Shortly after this incident, Mrs. Mary Ann Zdunczyk, FAA, Assistant Manager for Plans & Procedures, Miami Flight Service Station, Tamiami Airport, called a meeting to prevent a future incident and/or a possible mishap. This conference meeting was attended by José J. Basulto, President of BTTR, and by representatives from several US government agencies, including: Air Force, FAA, Customs Service, Coast Guard, Border Patrol, FBI, CIA, etc.
As a result of this meeting, BTTR agreed with the US authorities present to voluntarily participate, for its own safety, in the continuance of its flights, in a new protocol designed by the US Government. The main elements of this protocol with which BTTR agreed to comply were:
1. File an international flight plan, on each of its future missions, an hour in advance of departure, for each participating aircraft crossing south of the 24th parallel. At that time, flight plans were not required by the FAA unless the airplanes landed at a foreign port prior to return to the US, which was not the case for BTTR.
Each flight plan would require the FAA to assign a unique transponder code to identify each BTTR aircraft on any monitoring radar, including Cuba’s. Such codes were not required even in international flights under visual flight rules (VFR).
Also included in the flight plan were the name of the pilot, purpose of the flight, and the area and time of operations. It was agreed, and became procedure, that although the flights were not intended to terminate in Cuba or enter Cuban territory, the FAA would routinely forward the flight plans to the Cuban authorities.
2. Make a radio call to Havana Center on its active frequency ten minutes prior to crossing southbound on the 24th parallel to indicate BTTR’s presence under an active US flight plan.
THIS PROTOCOL HAS BEEN FOLLOWED BY BTTR TO THE LETTER SINCE JULY 1991 TO THE PRESENT, INCLUDING ON FEBRUARY 24, 1996.