Flying Into No-Fly Zones

By: Venton Blandin
By: Venton Blandin

June 6, 2006

Since the attacks of September 11th, some flight restrictions have been put in place to keep major cities, and potential terror targets safe. One man bound for Charlottesville learned that lesson first-hand Monday night.

Sometimes pilots fly into restricted airspace as was the case for a pilot who was escorted to the Gaithersburg airport on Monday. The pilot and his s plane, en route to Charlottesville, were diverted after what some call a simple mistake.

Still, most pilots say he should have known better.

"When a pilot goes from point 'A' to point 'B', he should check all of his information, weather and flight precautions," said Dwight Yates of the Charlottesville Flight Center.

As well as flight restrictions.

Dwight Yates says all those checks should be done before an aircraft takes off.

Skipping those very important details can cause a pilot's plane to be diverted with military force. While most plane diversions are made as a simple human error, Yates says pilots should make themselves aware of specific flight patterns.

"Especially after 9-11. There's been a lot of new rules, and regulations, and a lot of pilots just won't get up with them," added Yates.

Just Monday, a pilot en route from Philadelphia to Charlottesville, saw his plane diverted by two F-16 fighter jets. The United State Secret Service says he flew his Cessna 182 about 22 miles northeast of Reagan National Airport.

Seen as a mistake, one local pilot says, while it happens more often than before 9-11, the rules should not be relaxed.

"I think the rules have been out for some time. People should be familiar with them. If you file flight plans with the Federal Aviation Administration, one of the first things they ask you is if you are familiar with ADIZ," said Duane Hopper, a pilot in Charlottesville.

The ADIZ is, an aircraft defense identification zone, which is clearly outlined on a map. Those areas marked on a map state which parts of the sky are off-limits, and which are not.

Yates add's that flight restrictions rules are talked about a great when training pilots to fly. Once they become a pilot, there is a refresher course given every two years throughout the aviation career.

The last time someone breached the restricted flight zone around Washington,DC was May 2005. In that instance, the White House was evacuated when a student pilot and his instructor accidentally flew into the restricted area.

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