Coast Guard Takes Over ADIZ Patrol

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Pilots who stumble into the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) above Washington, D.C., now will be intercepted by helicopters flown by the U.S. Coast Guard, which takes over the job from Customs and Border Protection. The change was made official on Monday. "The Coast Guard is fully ready to [provide] air defense in the National Capitol Region," said Rear Adm. David Pekoske at a ceremony. Coast Guard crews will fly orange HH-65C Dolphin helicopters. The Dolphins will be equipped with civilian-frequency VHF radios plus electronic signboards so they can communicate with pilots who might be having radio problems, AOPA said. "Our concern about any change is that the enforcement agency understand general aviation and not be 'trigger happy,'" said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. "We worked with the Department of Homeland Security as this transfer was contemplated, and we strongly expressed the need for Coast Guard pilots to have the training and experience to safely intercept GA aircraft that inadvertently violate the ADIZ and to escort them to an appropriate landing place." The Coast Guard helicopters will be based at Reagan National Airport (DCA) in the center of the Washington, D.C., ADIZ.