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Mon, Jan 01, 2007

Fighters Scrambled For Bush Ranch TFR Violation

Pilot Busted Restricted Airspace Twice Prompting Calls To NORAD

A man flying an as yet unidentified "small plane" flew into restricted airspace near President Bush's Crawford Ranch in central Texas not once, but twice on Sunday.

KWTX reports the second violation prompted calls to North American Aerospace Defense Command who scrambled fighters to investigate. The errant plane was forced to land at the airport in Gatesville, TX.

Waiting to speak to the gentleman were members of the US Secret Service who released him after determining the airspace violations were "inadvertent."

As ANN reported on December 22, the temporary flight restriction (TFR) over Crawford Ranch became effective December 26 and ended today when the President returned to Washington.

For reasons of national security following the events of 9/11, the airspace around the President is always restricted which creates TFRs as he moves about the country.

Some in the general aviation community have called for an end to TFRs saying they are ineffective and only serve to set unsuspecting pilots up for criminal prosecution or enforcement action from the FAA because of inadvertent airspace violations. The government typically publishes the location and duration of any TFRs days in advance.

Although it appears unlikely the pilot in Sunday's incident will face any criminal charges, an FAA spokeswoman told Reuters it is investigating to determine if further action is required.

ANN urges all pilots to make themselves fully aware of all relevant data affecting a proposed flight including weather, performance data and information regarding airspace requirements along their route of flight. Let's all be careful out there...

FMI: www.faa.gov

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