DC Mood Was Less Tense Than In C-150K Incident
A King Air pilot trying to get around weather prompted a brief
evacuation of the Capitol and a partial evacuation of the White
House Wednesday, prompting the Bush administration to consider
expanding the no-fly zone over the nation's capital.
The pilot of the Beech King Air 350 had filed a flight plan from
Wilmington, DE, to Defiance, OH, according to the FAA. But shortly
after take-off, he apparently changed his mind, canceled IFR and
At approximately 1818, the King Air, in an apparent effort to
avoid storms around Washington, entered the ADIZ at a high rate of
speed, according to federal officials. The Washington Post reported
the aircraft was flying at approximately 310 mph. It was quickly
intercepted by F-16 fighters flying CAP over Washington.
The pilot of the King Air (file photo of teype, below)
"responded very quickly" to the intercepting fighters' directions.
The aircraft was escorted to the airport in Winchester, VA, where
the King Air was ordered to land.
The brief incursion forced evacuation of both chamgers if
Congress. Members of the Senate were voting on travel restrictions
to Cuba when flashing lights and sirens indicated an
The White House briefly went to "Condition Red" before the pilot
diverted, according to presidential spokesman Scott McClellan. "We
started to relocate some staff," he told the Washington Post. "The
alert level did go red, but within a matter of a couple minutes it
was back down to yellow."
It was the second time in six weeks that a general aviation
aircraft intruding in the ADIZ prompted an evacuation of official
Washington. As ANN reported extensively, a Cessna 150K
strayed into the ADIZ on May 11th, forcing a panicked evacuation
from the White House, Capitol and Supreme Court.
In Wednesday night's intrusion, the pilot was briefly detained
and questioned, then released by federal authorities.
"This was not intentional whatsoever," Standridge Color
Corporation spokesman Hal Wells said. Standridge owns the plane.
Wells refused to identify the pilot.
The mood in the nation's capital was reportedly more calm, with
police and federal officials moving at a more deliberate,
less-panicked pace, according to witnesses. But the combined
implications of the two incursinos could mean trouble for general
aviation. There's now talk at the White House of expanding the ADIZ
to give official Washington more time to deliberate, react and, if