It's One Of Ours

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Security Mandarins Ponder DC Panic...

Pilot error has been ruled out and now the people who try to keep Washington, D.C., safe from terrorism will figure out among themselves what led them to scramble fighters and evacuate the Capitol last Wednesday for an airplane that never strayed an inch from its approved (and very well-documented) flight path. The King Air 200 carrying Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher (a former fighter pilot) had a waiver to take Fletcher into Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport so the governor could attend a memorial for the airport's late namesake. But before it landed, its arrival caused panic (see AVweb's prior coverage") ... perhaps an appropriate reaction to police officers at the Capitol building shouting, "one minute to impact." The pseudo drama began with a balky transponder that quit working shortly after the King Air left Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport early Wednesday afternoon. Following the regulations for such an occurrence, the pilots of the Kentucky State Police aircraft notified air traffic control and maintained contact throughout the flight. "They followed directions from air traffic controllers explicitly," said Doug Hogan, Fletcher's communication's director.