Cessna Was Identified And Turned Away According To Plan
You might consider NBAA President Ed Bolen an optimist. Caught
on Capitol Hill during Wednesday's evacuation -- a scramble caused
by a Cessna 150K's incursion deep into the Washington ADIZ, Bolen
told ANN the incident proves the system works.
"I would hope that it would have no impact on efforts to open
DCA to business aircraft," he told ANN Thursday.
Although Homeland Security authorities indicated Thursday that
the air scare near that forced the evacuation of the White House,
Capitol and Supreme Court might have an adverse impact on attempts
to reopen Reagan National Airport (DCA) to business aviation
traffic, Bolen suggested such a move wouldn't make sense.
"All of the business aircraft
interested in going to Reagan National would be known to the
community in advance, would follow security procedures, would be
tracked and communicating with security agencies well in advance of
ever approaching the DC area," he said. "What happened yesterday
was, perhaps, a suggestion that the system worked."
As the unidentified aircraft approached Washington without
acknowledging attempts to communicate, Bolen said, the anti-terror
alert system kicked in, fighters were scrambled, important people
were evacuated and the aircraft was successfully intercepted.
"The security community immediately identified that aircraft and
immediately intervened. I think the system worked. Keep in mind
that, while the security groups were intervening with the Cessna
150, commercial operations were continuing at Reagan National
Airport. And they were continuing securely because those flights
were expected, they were known, they had been identified and were
That being the case, said Bolen, then business aircraft could
have operated just as efficiently and securely as the commercial
flights that were unaffected by the incursion.
"I think you have to say yesterday's event should have no impact
on business aviation's effort to get back into Reagan National,"
Like his counterparts at other "alphabet groups" with whom ANN
spoke on Thursday, Bolen expressed puzzlement at the ADIZ
incursion. "It's difficult to understand how the pilots strayed
into restricted airspace over Washington, DC. Certainly, it's
regrettable that it caused the evacuations and the kind of concerns
that resulted," he said. "When you see something that has a lot of
people in the industry shaking their heads... there was nothing
about it that helped general aviation. But having said that," Bolen
emphasized, "the system did work."