November 22nd, 2010
03:23 PM ET

F-16s scramble as private plane violates D.C. airspace

Two F-16 fighter jets briefly took to the skies over Washington on Friday after a small passenger aircraft violated the capital's airspace restrictions, according to military officials.

A portion of the White House grounds was briefly evacuated during the incident.

The passenger plane - a Cessna 182 - was escorted by the F-16s to an airport in nearby Manassas, Virginia. The Secret Service will interview the pilot, a spokesman for the agency told CNN.

- From CNN's  Shawna Shepherd and Mike Ahlers


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Filed under: U.S.
soundoff (105 Responses)
  1. Dexter

    Uh – duh? Don't pilots know the rules?? Its not the barefoot bandit – so whats the excuse??!?!

    November 22, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      Dexter, you're a pilot? You understand the challenges involved in avoiding federally protected airspace? You understand how easy it is to become disoriented when flying a plane?

      November 22, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • BillyG

      Ask U.S. Senator James Inhofe about reading NOTAMS or following the rules. The Senator's "excuse" was that pilots never check such things. This was most likely just an accidental incursion; Imhofe was blatant disregard for the rules.

      November 22, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      @Dexter – Yeah, seriously, didn't the pilot see the red line in the sky that marked the restricted air space? How brazen of him to fly right over that line! [end sarcasm]

      November 22, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zach

      @Mike haha you mean that doesn't exist?! I love when Obama comes to Chicago. Half of my home airport falls under the TFR which = FAIL.

      November 22, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • UHhello

      Wow, I thought pilots would know to steer clear of this airspace after the last time this happened.

      November 22, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • blah9999

      @Daniel Flight plans. Compass. And the fact that there is a large amount of air space so you can go around the white house.

      November 22, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Heydummy

      They should have just shot it time they'll see the red line in the sky and other pilots won't cross it.

      November 22, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • ummm

      Umm, i agree with dexter. If you don't know where you can and can't fly, study before you fly close to a metropolitan area

      November 22, 2010 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brianc

      I would have paid good money to see the look on his face as two fighters approached him!!

      November 23, 2010 at 1:30 am | Report abuse |


    November 22, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kyle

      Turned out to be not so short.

      November 22, 2010 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bill Meadows

    man.... people are STOOPID. hope he got some nice pictures that he'll never see again!

    November 22, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Chase de la Vega

    Why did this not happen on 9/11

    November 22, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel


      November 22, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chis

      The reason why we HAVE these fighter jets on standby for airspace restrictions was precisely because of 9/11... All these safeguards were put in after and weren't around on 9/11 the way they are today...

      November 22, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • grounded

      thats easy.... 911 was an inside job–steel buildings do bot collapse due to fire even the architects and engineers for 911 truth know that!

      November 22, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • ENgineer840

      As an Engineer I can attest that steel does deteriorate (in regards to strength) in fire. Especially fire fueled by high octane jet fuel. Stop trolling there's no conspiracy.

      November 22, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan did happen on 9/11, they couldn't get there fast enough, jets were en route when the planes hit the WTC and the Pentagon

      November 22, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jack

    Didn't happen on 9/11 because Cheney had NORAD stand down.

    November 22, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • jack

      Proof please.

      November 22, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pierre

      NORAD never stands down. on 9/11, It was determined that FAA was too slow in notifying NORAD.

      November 22, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • UHhello

      As much as I hate Cheney he did not make Norad Stand down. Also one of the flights on 9/11 was tracked by F-16s I believe it was the one of the tow that crashed in to the Field or the one that hit the Pentagon.

      November 22, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • jl

      He is right, nearly every jet was way over on the west coast on a 'training' mission. Also, any pilot knows where restricted airspace is, there should be no confusion over that nor any 'disorientation' unless you are entirely inexperienced.

      November 22, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • grounded

      yes and training excercises like vigillant guardian involving the exact same scenario had our defenses pre occupied and confused as to weither it was real or a drill-chaney should not have even been allowed to hold a squirt cun!!

      November 22, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      JL, it's called Operation Red Flag. An annual exercise.
      I guess you're not happy unless we DON'T train our Air Force pilots for their jobs in war.

      November 22, 2010 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. sure

    F-16s chase private plane over D.C. – Did they catch it?

    November 22, 2010 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chis

      Well they didn't shoot it down if that's what you were wondering... They escorted it to a landing strip in Manassas, Virginia where it landed...

      November 22, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Zach

    It is REAL easy to get lost while flying, in particular if you are not familiar with the area. Everyone makes mistakes. I just wish I could have seen a pair of F-16's doing slow flight next to the 182 that was trying to chug along at max power.

    November 22, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      my thoughts exactly- I was wondering what the minimum level cruising speed (without stalling) is for an F-16 is- 160 knots or about that? Cessna's max level airspeed is ~120 knots? Around there?

      Anyway, yes- pretty crazy.

      November 22, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Kevin

    If you knew anything about aviation you would understand how complicated the airspace is around our capital. The rules are so unbelievably complicated and the airspace is so crowded these things happen. When you get your pilots license why don't you give it a shot?

    November 22, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      Before I'd fly ANYWHERE near DC, I'd walk. Like you said, crazy too complicated AND the number of NOTAM's is insane.

      November 22, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. yogi

    send in the drones

    November 22, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Robert.

    Two F16's chasing a Cessna is not much of a chase in my opinion. Maybe the headline needs to be changed to Slow moving piston engined plane intercepted by two ridiculously fast jets over DC.........

    November 22, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Maineview

    Must be nerve wracking to have two F16's suddenly appear beside you offering to "escort" you to the nearest airport.

    November 22, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      What would have been REALLY interesting is if he slowed to just above stall and watch the F-16's TRY to keep up without stalling...

      November 22, 2010 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. slupdawg

    Whatever his excuse is, I bet he has to clean his seat out before he flies again.

    November 22, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jb

    What a crazy mistake. He may lose his license to fly.

    November 22, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  14. PARROT


    November 22, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • tkslink


      You really are an idiot. If indeed the military shot Flight 93 down it was because it was enroute to the west coast and when it reached Cleveland made a U turn and headed toward the White House. It was confirmed it was a hijacked plane and was most likely heading to the White House like the previous hit to the Pentagon.

      If you were President I presume you would stay at the White House and wait to see if the plan landing in the Oval Office. Hopefully the nose of the plan would go right up your upturned a**hole.

      Man sometimes people are idiots, everything is politcal.

      November 22, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Chase de la Vega

    NORAD was not in place before 9/11? Is that what you aree saying???

    November 22, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
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