Federal law enforcement officials say no criminal charges will be filed against the pilot of a Cessna 182 who caused the brief evacuation of the White House Wednesday night. The pilot violated the temporary flight restriction over Washington, D.C., after diverting around weather.
That very sort of pilot error was the topic of AOPA President Phil Boyer's Pilot Town Meeting in Nashville, Tenn., being held at virtually the same time as the violation. "In the climate that exists after the terrorist attacks, pilots have got to fly smarter than ever," Boyer told the assembly. "It is imperative that GA pilots adhere to the restrictions. Not doing so could undo all that AOPA has accomplished since September 11." Boyer reiterated that pilots must check and understand all notams before flight.
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation has a free online course, Operation Airspace 2002, which could have helped the pilot in question to be aware of TFRs and how to avoid them.
In addition, since the September 11 attacks, AOPA Online has maintained a Web page listing national security notams. The page was recently updated to make it easier to sort through, dividing the notams by state. In addition, many of the notams include graphical depictions and plain-language explanations. The Web page is intended as an aid to pilots and does not constitute an official briefing. Pilots are advised to ask a preflight briefer for all notams associated with a route of flight.
Graphic: PowerPoint slide from Phil Boyer's Pilot Town Meeting advising pilots to observe all security restrictions.