The pilot of a Cessna 177RG was escorted out of the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) and to a safe landing at Leesburg Executive Airport after coming within six miles of downtown on March 12.
The flight launched from Carroll County Regional Airport in Westminster, Md., and was headed along a southerly course when it strayed into the “no fly” Flight Restricted Zone near the Capitol. It was intercepted by two F-16 fighters and a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter and diverted to Leesburg Executive in Leesburg, Va.
“I can’t say it strongly enough: It is vital that pilots be vigilant and respect the ADIZ boundaries,” said AOPA President Phil Boyer. “Incursions like these bring the wrong kind of attention to general aviation. When pilots make mistakes like this, they jeopardize everyone’s freedom to fly. It is too easy for politicians and the public to point the finger at general aviation and respond to these incursions with more severe restrictions.”
Pilots who fly in the Washington, D.C., area are urged to familiarize themselves with the ADIZ and related operating requirements, and to use all available tools and techniques to maintain navigational awareness. A wide range of ADIZ resources, including links to the FAA’s ADIZ online course and operating procedures for airports within the ADIZ, are available on AOPA Online.
March 12, 2008