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. Munk


    November 22, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      Let me get this straight, the MILITARY should NOT wait for orders of their COMMANDER IN CHIEF? I didn't know that we gave the military the authority to do whatever they wanted inside of our nation, I guess Congress repealed Posse comitatus while I was deployed!

      Now, DO enlighten us, HOW do you THINK that the Pentagon was protected or is protected? I know, they have phasers and photon torpedoes, right? Especially as the Pentagon is VERY close to the glide path for TWO major airports that serve DC!
      Yes, it was an outside job. Your assertion of otherwise is pure nonsense, do you REALLY think that some sooper seekret group managed to do all you and your tin foil hat buddies claim and NOBODY talked? You're talking about HUNDREDS of people, JUST for one building. Not that you have a clue about implosions, explosives or even what a building is actually made of.
      So, kindly put your tin foil hat back on and go away. Your excuse for thoughts is stinking up the place.

      November 22, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. gottahandittohim

    Betcha he wont compain about his electricity bill after he sees this one.

    November 22, 2010 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Grey Beard CFII

    My Understanding according to the latest news is he is a STUDENT pilot, and that makes him nervous to begin with. You non pilot conspiracy types need to get a life–

    November 22, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • mslman71

      I'm glad I learned to fly out in the cornfields. It was hard enough keeping up with, much less ahead of, the aircraft and navigating during those initial hours. I did my best to get out of the Ft. Meade area and head to W. MD or to the Eastern Shores as quickly as possible, but for this casual VFR weekend warrior the DC BS was too much.

      November 22, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  4. BJS

    F-16s on alert do not stay running the entire time. That would be a near impossibility, as well as a major safety risk. There are, however, measures that are taken to greatly decrease the time from lapse between initial response and takeoff when a "scramble" occurs.

    November 22, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Like they leave the keys in the igntion

      Because nothing slows down the launch of a military aircraft then when the pilot leaves the keys in his car or in his locker. More modern aircraft have a 'smart key' system made by nissan, so there is less risk of delay.

      November 22, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  5. JRR

    They should shoot one of these guys down. All of a sudden there is no problem anymore!

    November 22, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • mslman71

      It's called getting lost for a reason. What do you think happens to all the rounds and/or missile(s) used to shoot down the aircraft? It's gonna look real good when homes and people get shot up on the ground over a lost Cessna. They could probably just criss-cross in front of him and force him down. Not sure what the wake turbulence (or other turbulence) from a f-16 is like.

      November 22, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Building 7

    Nothing hit Building 7 so why did it go down????

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

      Did you consider the ripple effect / sheer weight & tremble from the fall of the other buildings?

      November 22, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Eric

    Some day, one of these F16s will shoot down a dentist from Florida with a faulty radio and the government will say that it acted for the good of the country. That will be the day the USA become a fascist state... or is it too late already?

    November 22, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • As if someone would miss an extra dentist from Florida?

      I'm sure Florida has at least a couple million dentists, so it would take a lot of ammo to make the USA a fascist state. Plus, I don't follow the premise that a dentist-free Florida would cause all democratic government processes to fail.

      November 22, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Chuck

    It is amazing how these conspiracy theorists keep repeating the same old lie. If you do not think steel can weaken under intense heat then you are a moron. (How do you think the steel I-beam got into that shape and length?) Many unbiased Engineering studies have been made on this subject and yet we keep hearing that Engineers and Architects believe such non-sense. What Engineers? Let me guess, a buddy of yours sister heard it from someone that is really smart. NOT!

    November 22, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. The Instructor was probably taking a nap

    While his 'star pupil' was flying the plane.

    I would assume he woke up when the F-16s passed over him at 500 mph. At which point he a) spilled his beer b) performed a bodily function which would require the seats of the airplane to be cleaned.

    November 22, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • grounded

      or maybe a WAC!!

      November 22, 2010 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. What in the world

    No one cares about safety anymore. We should all read the signs that remind us how vulnerable we really are. If any crazed lunatics were to read this than wanted to kill us, no wonder people hate americans. I would bet most people dont even know their ancestry, let alone how america is protected, not every evil plot is posted in the headlines either. Somedays I dont agree with the govt but I would much rather be protected than not.

    November 22, 2010 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • mslman71

      Protected from what? Over 300 million people and 3.8 million square miles. The 'ol raging 182 isn't really the strategic or tactical backbone of too many military powers.

      November 22, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • grounded

      there is a fine line between being protected and being imprisoned or forceably hearded in a direction of safety??!...this just shows it is not the passengers but the pilots who should be strip searched! and even afterwards we give them the biggest weapon in the sky... that goes right over all our heads!
      did anyone know that when all flights were grounded the hole in the ozone started to heal?
      I never fly and dont see any reason to rush things at the expense of the ozone....slow down people !!

      November 22, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  11. kit161584

    Every pilot knows about the DC SFRA and the TFR. The SFRA is marked on every Washington TAC, Sectional, WAC, and IFR en-route chart. If you're anywhere near, the prudent pilot would punch in the DCA VOR/DME and then there is no mistaking whether you're within 60nm even if you're lost otherwise. While I agree people make mistakes, ignorance is no excuse especially when pilots have so many tools available for flight planning and en route navigation. Maybe this pilot shouldn't lose his or her license permanently, but there needs to be some remedial flight training and some time on the ground before they ever get up in the air again. AOPA has enough on their plate as they fight for general aviation rights without boneheads like this giving someone the excuse to impose more restrictive rules on a crowd that is for the most part professional, competent, and fully compliant with FAA regs.

    November 22, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Chris

    are we sure this wasnt another presidential photo op?

    November 22, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. dj fiesta mix

    I been flying there a few times is not that complicated. specially whit all the landmarks
    . in dc anything but landmarks

    November 22, 2010 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Som Ting Wong

    Good try pilot.

    November 22, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. steve.steve

    What he (Wzrd1) said!

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