…The GA/Intercept Pilot Interface


Cox said it’s important for pilots to understand customs pilots’ role in the protection of the Capitol. “We’re here to protect GA,” he said. As long as an ADIZ-busting pilot is successfully intercepted by unarmed customs aircraft, there’s no need to call out the armed-to-the-teeth military, whose attitude toward errant aviators is markedly different. “The military doesn’t know how to deal with this,” Cox said. Customs pilots have gone to great lengths to try to keep the F-16s from becoming involved, to the point of crafting handmade signs with the emergency frequency on them and waving them at pilots of target aircraft through the Citation’s cockpit windows. Cox said that in the end, they just painted the frequency on the noses of the Washington-based aircraft so the customs pilots could better maintain visual contact (it was hard to see through the signs). Cox, a former corporate pilot, was attracted to the customs job for the job security and challenge of the work. But he said he doesn’t think his enforcement role has changed his basic love of flying. “I’m just like everyone else. I’m a member of AOPA and EAA and I just love what I do.”