Thursday, July 08, 2004

June 17 I mused about the process of shooting down aircraft. On June 9 the airplane bringing the Governor of Kentucky to DC for Reagan's funeral was nearly shot down by NORAD.

The plane had a broken transponder, which it radioed to officials in OHIO shortly after takeoff. But the FAA didnt pass this bit of info along to the military. Um, ... why isnt it part of pre-flight checklist to make sure your transponder is working??

There is a 16 mile radius no-fly zone centered on the Washington Monument. And also a 50-mile "D.C. Air Defense Identification Zone" which "requires pilots to identify their aircraft, activate identification beacons and stay in two-way radio contact with air controllers" (according to the Washington Post).

Reagan National airport, Bolling Air Force Base, Andrews Air Force Base, and Naval Air Station Anacostia are all inside the no-fly zone (and Dulles and BWI airports are inside the 50-mile ring as is Quantico and Fort Belvoir which both have flight strips), so commercial flights to Reagan airport are exempted from the no-fly zone. Um... what good is a no-fly zone if there are exceptions? And will someone please explain to the 120+ killed at the Pentagon how this policy is effective? Ah, it is meant to stop a second wave, but does not claim to prevent the first attack.

Face it, if you really insist on a no-fly zone, then its time to close Reagan airport completely. Cant have your cake and eat it too.

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