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FLYING RESTRICTIONS Pilot of small plane is latest airspace violator

Published: Sun, July 3, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.

Hundreds of pilots have violated Washington's airspace restrictions post Sept. 11.

FREDERICK, Md. (AP) -- A small plane violated the restricted airspace around the presidential retreat of Camp David, and the pilot was questioned after being forced to land, federal authorities said.

The pilot was released late Saturday without being charged, Secret Service spokesman Jonathan Cherry said Sunday.

The small Cessna was intercepted by two F-16 fighters about eight miles from Camp David at about 10:45 p.m. Saturday, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Holly Baker told The Associated Press on Sunday.

The plane was forced to land at Frederick Municipal Airport.

Cherry said the plane violated restricted airspace at Camp David, which is near Thurmont, north of Frederick.

The Frederick News-Post reported that a man and woman were questioned, but Cherry wouldn't comment on that report.

On Wednesday, the White House briefly went to red alert when another plane entered restricted airspace around Washington. President Bush was hurried from his residence to a safer location and lawmakers were ordered to evacuate the Capitol. Two fighters intercepted the twin-engine, propeller-driven plane eight miles northeast of the Capitol and escorted it to Winchester, Va.

Past incidents

On May 11, a Cessna violated restricted airspace and sent lawmakers and other government workers scrambling from the Capitol, the White House and other federal buildings. That plane also was escorted to Frederick.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, hundreds of pilots have violated Washington's restricted airspace. Private planes are not allowed to fly in the Air Defense Identification Zone, about 2,000 square miles radiating from the three airports around Washington, without a special transponder code and radio contact with the FAA. They're not allowed at all within 16 miles of the Washington Monument.


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