ADIZ-Busting Pilot Plans Flight School Chain

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If you believe that it's best to learn from the mistakes of others, Troy Martin has a deal for you. If the name rings a bell it's because the 37-year-old was at the center of one of the most infamous navigational miscues in general aviation history. He was in the left seat of a Cessna 150 when he and Hayden L. "Jim" Scheaffer came within a mile or so of the White House in May 2005. Martin, a student pilot at the time, said the incident showed him that there are big holes in pilot training, holes his company, Martin Aviation Group, hopes to fill with what he says is his new approach to teaching people to fly. "There's just not a lot of structure today with how people learn to fly," he told the Lancaster, Penn., Sunday News, adding that there should be more government oversight to ensure pilots stay sharp. Now, let's see. Despite pages of NOTAMs, almost nonstop publicity and industry chatter about the Washington Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), Martin and Scheaffer plotted a course that took them directly over downtown Washington. If cooler heads hadn't prevailed, the flight could have made an even greater impact, if you know what we mean. As it was, thousands of terrified workers, residents and tourists ran for their lives when the alert was sounded. AOPA spokesman Chris Dancy told the Sunday News he's not sure how different training or government oversight in addition to the hundreds of pages of regulations that already exist might have prevented the incident. "One of those regulations states in no uncertain terms that a pilot must be familiar with every aspect of a given flight," Dancy said. (Airspace included.)