A pilot who said he ran out of fuel while circling outside the Washington, D.C., ADIZ, waiting for ATC to find his flight plan and clear him to enter, crashed four miles short of the runway on Sunday. The pilot and his two passengers suffered minor injuries. The Cessna 172 went down near Baltimore's Martin State Airport shortly after noon, according to the FAA Preliminary Report (scroll for Record 10). "The controller told me they couldn't find me in the system," pilot Dale Roger told the Baltimore Sun, and he kept circling for about an hour, waiting for an OK to enter the ADIZ so he could land at Martin Airport. Roger told the Sun that he had filed a flight plan, but the FAA said they had no record of it. "We've had continuous problems like these," AOPA spokesman Warren Morningstar told the Sun. "Flight plans are lost every day."
"Fuel management is the pilot's responsibility," AOPA President Phil Boyer said in a news release on Monday. "But having said that, AOPA has repeatedly warned FAA and the Transportation Security Administration that the operational gridlock caused by the ADIZ procedures would result in an accident, and now it appears that this has happened." AOPA said it will file a Freedom of Information Act request for the ATC and FSS audiotapes. AOPA had asked the FAA and TSA to establish ingress and egress routes for the ADIZ, but on June 9, that request was denied. "This response is not acceptable," said Boyer. "As the accident clearly demonstrates, there is a serious safety-of-flight issue that is being ignored." The Washington ADIZ, which covers the region's Class B airspace plus additional airspace to the south, extends from the surface up to but not including FL180. The ADIZ was imposed on February 10.
The D.C. airspace is far from being the only victim of security restrictions. In Florida, the World Aerobatics Championships (WAC) underway in Lakeland ran up against a 30-nm TFR that sprung up Monday night during a campaign visit to Tampa by President Bush. By working with the FAA and the Secret Service, and with help from EAA, the WAC was able to obtain a waiver so the competition could continue without interruption. In Europe last week, French fighter jets almost shot down a civilian helicopter that wandered over Lake Geneva, after a Swiss controller jokingly labeled the helicopter as "al-Qaeda" on his radar screen. And in Africa, Kenya on Sunday closed its airspace to flights from neighboring Somalia, despite appeals from Somalia to keep the routes open. The closure was attributed to terrorism concerns, according to a BBC report.