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Pilot not charged with flying in area near Camp David

July 04, 2005|by KAREN HANNA

FREDERICK, Md. - A pilot who allegedly flew into restricted air space Saturday night came within 71/2 nautical miles of Camp David, a Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman said Sunday.

The U.S. Secret Service and FAA were investigating the incident Sunday. According to spokespeople for the agencies, the pilot, who landed at Frederick (Md.) Municipal Airport, had not been charged.

FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said a Cessna 172 was detected in temporary restricted air space about 10:30 p.m. Saturday near Camp David.

The plane was flying at an altitude of 1,300 feet, and it came within 71/2 nautical miles of Camp David, which is near Thurmont, Md., in a rural area of Frederick County, Brown said.

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U.S. Secret Service spokesman Jonathan Cherry said the plane violated restricted airspace at Camp David. The pilot was interviewed and released without being charged, he said.

A three-mile radius of airspace from the ground to an altitude of 5,000 feet above Camp David is prohibited for all pilots, Brown said. The airspace above that altitude is restricted.

According to Brown, the Secret Service can request the FAA maintain a temporary flight restriction to an altitude of 18,000 feet in an area the radius of 10 nautical miles around Camp David.

That area was restricted over the weekend, Brown said. The AP reported that President Bush was staying at Camp David this weekend. The White House did not respond to questions about whether he had to be evacuated or was aware of the plane.

No one could be reached at North American Aerospace Defense Command Sunday to confirm whether a fighter plane had been dispatched to intercept the Cessna.

According to Brown, pilots who fly into no-fly zones could face license suspensions.

Neither Brown nor Cherry would identify the plane's pilot Sunday.

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