Bust the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) and you're now likely to see a different kind of aircraft off your wing-- an orange Coast Guard HH-65C Dolphin instead of a Customs and Border Patrol Black Hawk. The Coast Guard's air station in Atlantic City, New Jersey, is taking over responsibility for intercepting "low and slow" aircraft violating the ADIZ without the proper flight plan and clearance. The Dolphins will be equipped with civilian-frequency VHF radios plus electronic signboards so that the helicopter pilots can communicate with pilots who might be having radio problems. "Our concern about any change is that the enforcement agency understand general aviation," said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. "We worked with the Department of Homeland Security as this transfer was contemplated, and we believe that the Coast Guard pilots have the training and experience to safely intercept GA aircraft that inadvertently violate the ADIZ, and escort them to an appropriate landing place."
September 29, 2006