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Media advisory -- To correct errors reported during incident over Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, AOPA speaks to president of flying club involvedMedia advisory -- To correct errors reported during incident over Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, AOPA speaks to president of flying club involved

Media advisory - To correct errors reported during incident over Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, AOPA speaks to president of flying club involved

In the midst of the confusion and speculation surrounding the D.C.-area airspace violation Wednesday, AOPA President Phil Boyer spoke to the president of Vintage Aero Club to get the straight story. Both of the men aboard the Cessna 150 aircraft that violated the airspace are members of the flying club and part-owners of the airplane. Boyer spoke to the flying club's president to correct erroneous news reports throughout the day.

  • The aircraft, a 1970 Cessna 150K, was kept in a locked hangar at Smoketown Airport in Pennsylvania, where it was based.
  • As members of Vintage Aero Club, the men had authorization to use the aircraft and had planned the flight in advance.
  • The flight was properly scheduled on the flying club's Web-based scheduling system.
  • One of the men is a student pilot.
  • The other holds a pilot certificate but is not a certificated flight instructor.

"As an association representing general aviation and nearly two-thirds of all pilots in the U.S., it is our responsibility to gather the facts and set the record straight," said Boyer.

The flight departed from Smoketown Airport and was en route to Lumberton, N.C. There is no information about why the men flew into the restricted area. During his discussion with Boyer, Vintage Aero Club's president commented: "Every pilot is responsible for proper flight planning." That includes using all available resources to get current airspace restriction information. The flying club's president confirmed that the club receives airspace bulletins from AOPA, which are sent out regionally when airspace restrictions are implemented. He also reiterated the importance of preflight planning and safety issues during monthly club meetings.

"AOPA will remain focused on educating our members about the airspace restrictions in the D.C. area and nationwide," said Boyer. "Online tutorials, e-mails highlighting airspace restrictions, and in-person safety seminars are just some of the tools AOPA uses to make sure pilots are aware of the most up-to-date airspace issues."

The more-than-404,000 members of AOPA make up the world's largest civil aviation association. AOPA is committed to striking a common-sense balance that fulfills national security needs while protecting aircraft owners and pilots from overly burdensome regulations.

05-2-023

May 11, 2005

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