The Finger On The Trigger, In D.C....

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Fletcher's Flight Almost Shot Down...

Of course, the hubbub in Washington centered around Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher's near-fatal trip to Ronald Reagan's funeral on June 9. According to The Washington Post, unnamed sources reported that the military was on the verge of blasting Fletcher's King Air out of the Washington sky after it showed up as an unidentified aircraft on the monitors in the National Capital Region Control Center (NCRCC). But perhaps they were a bit shy of acquiring a lock on the target. As AVweb told you two weeks ago, a civilian contractor failed to notice the manual tracking tags attached to the radar image of Fletcher's transponder-less airplane and that triggered the evacuation of the Capitol building and the scrambling of F-16s. According to the Post, an F-16 was looking for the King Air but the pilot couldn't visually identify it because of cloud cover. Moments later, the plane began a normal approach to DCA and the military called off the attack. Fletcher told the Lexington Herald that he was originally told he was "milliseconds" from being shot down. The governor also claims that through the aftermath of the incident (those on board the plane were oblivious to the events around them until after they landed) his thoughts were not on his narrowly spared hide but on the way the incident would play in the media. "You don't want the state embarrassed for reasons beyond your control," he said. "The first few hours that concerned me more than anything. We are trying to build a good image in Kentucky."