Skip to comments.Military Was Set To Down Cessna(Rummy gave approval)
Posted on 05/25/2005 9:19:16 AM PDT by TigerLikesRooster
By Spencer S. Hsu and John Mintz Washington Post Staff Writers Wednesday, May 25, 2005; Page A01
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld gave military officials the authority to shoot down, if necessary, a small plane that wandered into restricted airspace over the nation's capital May 11, according to two senior federal officials.
For 11 intense minutes, customs aircraft and military fighter jets tried to intercept the Cessna 150 and determine whether the pilots were confused and lost or were targeting Washington. Military officials never deemed the aircraft to be hostile, but White House and U.S. Capitol officials grew more concerned as it flew within three miles of the executive mansion.
The plane, one of the federal officials said, came within "15 to 20 seconds" of being downed before its pilots finally heeded repeated orders to turn away from the city.
The new details, also corroborated yesterday by a senior federal law enforcement official briefed on events, came as U.S. military and homeland security officials review the effectiveness of an air defense system established for the Washington area after the 2001 terrorist attacks. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because much of the air defense system is classified.
As authorities piece together the lessons of the scare -- described by some officials as the closest the government has come to downing a civilian plane over Washington since Sept. 11, 2001 -- they are confronting sensitive issues involving split-second decisions, communications and the federal chain of command.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
Yet it would not surprise me if they sue the government.
"...Yet it would not surprise me if they sue the government."
Of course they would, so would who ever the wreckage landed on. DC folks area always looking for that lawsuit that will have them set for life.
No kidding. I wonder what Einstein's first clue was.
I've got a problem with the SecDef approving this....it should be the President's call.
"In another story:
'I thought we were going to be shot out of the sky'"
The mere fact that he is still here to make the essence of this statement shows that intelligent men of character made the decision NOT to pull the trigger yet even when they had the authority to do so.
Sort of makes you wonder about reporters and editors, doesn't it?
The student pilot is not responsible for any of this. Only 30 hours? You have a lot of trust in an instructor at that point believe me. The Pilot in Command was not even current to carry passengers. You need 3 take offs and landings in the previous 90 days. He was violating federal aviation regulations the second they starting taxiing.
I dont know what this guys story is but he should never get his pilots certificate back. He has zero excuse for this. None.
Give him the boom-stick.
There should be clear ROE in place so that the GCI officer would give the order.
"Give him the boom-stick."
heh heh, hopefully the total humiliation as a pilot is worse.
"Woulda been their fault"... Yup, all their fault. The Blackhawk intercepting the 150 signaled them to switch to frequency 121.5, only that frequency was being blocked by an ELT going off. Then to another frequency, except there was nobody monitoring that one either. Kinda like the cops telling a suspect "flap your arms and fly or we'll shoot".
Everyone in America knows that it's not a good idea to fly close to national landmarks without permission.
"All their fault"...And, supposing they had shot it down, do you believe the frequency problems would ever have been revealed by the Feds? When pigs fly, maybe.
These were not highly experienced pilots, and I assume they were using hand-held GPS for navigation. Please tell me why shooting them down woulda been OK, but the Soviets shootdown of KAL (navigated by highly trained seasoned professionals using state-of-the-art avionics was not OK.
I don't. He is the Secretary of Defense.
KAL was a commercial airliner.
This was a Cessna which could well have contained a bomb intended for the WH.
BTW, I was unaware that KAL actually got within a few miles of the Kremlin. I thought it flew over sparsely-populated Sakhalin Island on the ouer edge of the Soviet Empire. Thanks for the info.
Sparsely populated Sakhalin Island? Well, yeah, most military bases are that way. Review the article, it clearly states the military did NOT consider the 150 a threat - that posture was pushed by WH & DHS functionaries on the ground. The no-fly zone around DC is busted twice a day, on average, so why is this piss-ant of an aircraft getting so many panties in a wad?
I suspect that nobody needs to make the call as it's probably a standing order to shooot down anything that gets within a certain distance of the WH.
Do not assume that. If they had been using GPS, they would have known where they were, and known to avoid DC altogether. They were using maps, and whatever navigation instruments the 150 had on board (VOR, NDB, but probably none).
As stated, the Military did not perceive them as a threat, which was the right call in this case. THey would have done their job, to be sure, but having permission to act and being ordered to act are two different things.
Given the incident and the fortunate outcome, I would not fly outside of the local area without my Garmin GPS and my ICOM A5.
Thank God for the professionalism of the military pilot. No shooting, no downed wreckage, no rounds going downrange, and no lifelong memory of blasting a couple of fools into oblilvion.
Does anybody else think some recognition is in order?
Is Rumsfeld planning to A-OK the blowing up of any truck greater than 2 tons that enters the Washington DC area? These trucks are more of a threat than Cessnas with a 500 pound carrying capacity.
Don't worry. The gallant flyboy has been strutting his "right stuff" on the news/talk show circuit.
Is that legal now? (I am making reference to GA generally, not this particular flight). In the past, the FAA would not have permitted a pilot to make navigational decisions based on a consumer device like that, although he could have carried one for confirmation. (a lot could have changed in the 15 years I have been away).
I guess you haven't seen him on TV yet.
I'm sorry that you feel intimidated.
The President made the call, and that was to delegate the decision to his authorized agent, Secretary Rumsfeld.
That's how things are supposed to work, IMHO.
'I've got a problem with the SecDef approving this....it should be the President's call.'
Why? He is the first civilian in the CofC. And the only one besides the President.
Yeah. . .they scare me to death. . *snicker*
Sec. Rumsfeld denies the Times report.
Oh. . .great. . now you got me giggling like a little girl
Very rare to find a private pilot, especially two inexperienced ones, who are familiar with military intercept proceedures. They DID try to communicate on 121.5 & another freq, to no avail (not their fault). Sure, they screwed up, but it should not have been the big deal it became.
Well, VFR pilots are supposed to use sectional charts for pilotage, but GPS makes it so damned simple. Not illegal for VFR flight, but a cautious pilot would use both. Cutting corners is something we all do every day, rarely does it bite you in the arse.
Wasn't one a Instructor Pilot and the other his student?