Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Same C-150 Violates the DC ADIZ Again?

This is straight from the "You-Can't-Make-This-Stuff-Up" Department. Remember when, back in 2005, a Cessna 150K with a private pilot (acting as pilot-in-command) and a student pilot aboard, took off from Smoketown, PA and bored deep into the Washington ADIZ and Flight Restricted Zone (FRZ)? The misadventure, which was written up extensively in AOPA Pilot magazine, caused widespread consternation along with the partial evacuation of several minor Federal facilities (like the White House, the Capitol and the Supreme Court).

Now, the SAME AIRPLANE, N5826G, has done it again! The (different) pilot, reportedly a student on a first solo cross-country flight, got within 10 miles of KDCA before two USCG helicopters joined up with him and gently diverted him to Gaithersburg (KGAI).

26G is still owned by the same Pennsylvania flying club. It would seem likely that the events of May 2005 would be well known around their 'drome, and that the local CFI's would be rather cautious when sending students off on southbound cross-country flights. It will be interesting to hear about this student's pre-flight activities.

Since N631S and I operate from Potomac Airfield (VKX) -- deep in the heart of the FRZ -- the rules and procedures associated with the ADIZ and the FRZ are a regular part of my life. Ladies and gents, I can tell you that it just isn't that hard! I wish everyone that wants to play with airplanes down in my part of the world would find out what the rules are and get it right!

The aftermath of the last N5826G-driven event was the on-line course that anyone who intends to commit VFR flight within 60 miles of the Washington Monument is required to take and pass. (One hopes that our latest Intrepid Aviator complied with that small requirement before slipping the surly bonds yesterday.) Now, here we go again. There will be renewed calls for greater restrictions on "those little airplanes". There may be new and more onerous "security" hurdles in prospect. This is NOT HELPFUL.

OK, rant mode to "off". Let's be careful up there.

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