Fri, Jun 11, 2004
FAA: Plane Was On Course
Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher's staff says his aircraft was
on course and in touch with controllers when it apparently prompted
the evacuation of the US Capitol and Supreme Court Wednesday. It
looks for all the world like someone at the FAA didn't communicate
the governor's clearance to security officials.
"You have one minute to impact."
That was the warning blared on loudspeakers at the heart of US
government Wednesday as officials quickly evacuated both lawmakers
and those who'd gathered to pay their respects to former President
The momentarily unidentified aircraft turned out to be a 32-year
old King Air 200 (file photo of type, below) carrying Kentucky
Governor Ernie Fletcher and his party to the Reagan National
Airport so they could attend Wednesday's services for President
Reagan, who died Saturday at the age of 93.
Daniel Groves, Fletcher's chief of staff, told reporters after
the incident that the Kentucky State Police aircraft's transponder
stopped working shortly after take-off from Greater
Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport. Groves and
Fletcher's communications director, Doug Hogan, said even though
the flight crew stayed in touch with controllers -- even though it
had permission to penetrate the Washington (DC) ADIZ -- they didn't
pass the word along.
"It would appear the air traffic controllers did not notify any
of the other agencies about the situation," Hogan said.
Two F-15 fighters scrambled to meet the governor's airplane.
Fletcher said he didn't know anything about the situation until
well after he landed.
"He did not sense any danger or any concern because they were in
full control of the airplane," Groves said.
The Capitol reopened about 90-minutes before the motorcade
carrying President Reagan's body arrived for the beginning of his
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