Sunday, July 03, 2005

Another plane intercepted busting the DC airspace Updated

Aviation events interest me, as long-time readers know. I note this item reported on Fox about another small plane being intercepted while entering restricted airspace around DC. The last time this happened, it was a single engine aircraft whose forced landing into a local general aviation airport was not only reported, it was televised. In that instance, it was a student and a "more experienced" pilot who froze at the sight of a pair of F-16's taking a very pointed interest in their flight plan. This time it's different:

::::::::A small plane entered restricted air space in the Washington area before two fighter jets forced it to land at an airport here, authorities said.

U.S. Secret Service spokesman Jonathan Cherry would not say what air space the small Cessna passenger plane violated on Saturday, the Frederick News-Post reported.

Well, there's a few choices around here. There's a 16-mile restricted zone around the Washington Monument, which obviously includes the White House, the Capitol, the entire Smithsonian Museum on the mall, and most of the major monuments such as the Lincoln, Jefferson, Korean War and World War II. There's Camp David, Andews Air Force Base, and (a bit further south) Quantico Marine Base. In short, there's a wide area around DC that's restricted so it could be plenty of places. The fact that the Secret Service isn't saying is interesting, to say the least. According to the story, this aircraft was a twin-engined bird, too, which makes it a more capable craft in terms of speed, range, and payload than the Cessna 172 that got intercepted last time. (Note to aircraft afficianado's: I know there are examples of aircraft that don't follow that general rule, but I'm speaking in wide generalities, here.) Also of interest is that they escorted the plane out to Winchester, VA instead of putting it down in, say, Frederick, MD or Leesburg, VA, both of which are closer to DC. I look forward to more details.

Update: I just can't let this one go. Just got an anonymous comment posted here that reads, in its entirety:

::::::::You say "the Cessna 172 that got intercepted last time". Go back and read again, it wasn't a Cessna 172.::::::::

It's funny to me that a person would know there's an issue with this fact, implies that they know what the specific issue is, takes the time to actually write the comment about it, but won't say what the problem actually is. Well, far be it from me to knowingly let an incorrect fact sit still on a page when I've been advised, so I went back and read it. He's right. It wasn't a Cessna 172. It was a Cessna 152. Shall we take a look?

This is a Cessna 172.

And this is a Cessna 152.

There are absolutely differences between these 2 planes, even if 95% of my readers don't know that. So, Anonymous, thanks for the correction.