Read-Back Error Prompts Capitol Emergency
A Piedmont Airlines Dash 8 pilot's read-back error triggered an emergency response in Washington on Saturday. The FAA has confirmed the pilot selected the wrong frequency after a handoff while approaching Washington Reagan National Airport . Contact was lost for about 15 minutes while fighters were scrambled and government offices were evacuated. The plane landed safely after communications were restored.
The response is a standard one and an investigation is under way. The assumption was that the plane had been hijacked and it's not clear how communications were restored, whether the crew noticed the error, whether controllers found them on the wrong frequency or whether the message was delivered via hand signals from an intercepting aircraft.