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Airspace Incursion Causes Capitol Evacuation, Harms GA

April 24, 2009 — As EAA has emphasized previously, forced evacuations due to small general aviation aircraft flying into restricted airspace are harmful to GA. One such incident occurred Friday morning forcing a brief evacuation of the U.S. Capitol and lockdown at the White House.

According to the Capitol Police, a plane, reportedly a Cessna 180, was flying toward Capitol airspace and entered the Special Flight Rules Area (SFAR) causing a rise in the threat level that required evacuation at the Capitol. The pilot was contacted, changed course, and experienced an escorted landing at Indian Head Airport (25W), Maryland.

“A single incident like this can undo the considerable efforts of EAA and the other GA organizations that are working to mitigate restrictive rulemaking and legislation that could affect their current freedom of flight,” said Earl Lawrence, EAA vice president of industry and regulatory affairs. “We urge anyone flying near restricted airspace, especially in our nation’s capitol, to be extremely vigilant. Know what is required of you, where you are prohibited from flying, and demonstrate superior airmanship.”

Pilots who fly within 60 nautical miles of the SFAR are required to take the mandatory FAA ADIZ/SFAR course.

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