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Things you never want to see in D.C.

The F-16 that suddenly appears off our left wing is obvious. It wags its wings as it goes by, and its engine, in afterburner, shakes the sky like an aerial earthquake. An identical airplane that trails a few miles behind and slightly above us, however, isn’t visible to us at all. It’s there to intervene if we take some sort of hostile or evasive action. ( Mehr...

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Roland Dent 8
"navigationally challenged general aviation pilots" I love it!!
Roland Dent 4
I just checked and back in the 70a in the UK we had white flashing at night and green only flashing through the day...has the green/red alternate signal always been tha way in the U.S.? Haha but we had smoke signals too and flares..haha..
indy2001 3
This discussion made me pull out the flip-card checklist that I made during flight school in 1977. (Typed on 5" x 8" index cards and held together by a couple of metal rings, what I thought was pretty cool back then looks pretty pathetic now. But the dirt and oil stains attest to its use.) On the Light Gun Signals card in the Emergency section, the entry for Alternating Green and Red Lights -- both in the air and on the ground -- says "Exercise extreme caution". I don't think the non-LED lights alternated as quickly back then, but I never had a reason to see them firsthand, thank God. BTW, the official FAA list is at
Ruger9X19 2
This is the section of the NOTAM about the red/red/green signal in the FRZ,Sec%203.cfm
Jeremy Kudlick 1
No - the red/green "sparkle" is specific to the FRZ (the "inner ring" around Washington, DC). If you are not law enforcement/military or otherwise specifically authorized to be in the FRZ (such as flights to/from KDCA), you will be sparkled.
Roland Dent 2
thanks...amzn how stuff like this stays in your mind..'82 since I last flew..
Bill Hart 3
Watch Dog seems a litle slow, here's a tip for him. The size and speed of the aircraft is not the point. Think what can be carried in a small aircraft then maybe you will see more value in the exercise. A few sticks of TNT do not take up a lot of room, the aircraft is merely the delivery van.
smoki 3
How about the dreaded suitcase nuke many of which once in former Soviet hands are unaccounted for that could level multiple trade center structures like those on 911 to say nothing of the radiation contamination. They could easily be accomodated in a small SE airplane. The small airplane is probably more likely to be used in a future terrorist scenario than the big iron only because it is so inherently stealthy. You can be sure too that such a scenario will involve low flying thus delaying detection until in close by skin paint only. Sparkling lights mean nothing to a terrorist. By then it could be too late for any type of intercept. This entire exercise was staged. I would hope that exercises with simulated aggressor penetrations are being conducted to see if the would be terrorist could succeed in making it to a target of opportunity. For National Security purposes, the results of those exercises should never see the light of day.
Micah MacDonald 2
Granted it was 18 years ago and before the 9/11 attacks, but a plane has crashed next to the White House:
bighugh 2
Which way did he go?
sparkie624 2
LOL, Sounds like a pretty site, but don't try it a 2nd time.
Toby Sharp 2
Very cool...thanks for sharing
Daniel Baker 2
Is there more video of the additional passes?
Cole Meierstein 1
Can't find any. Wish there was.
Larry Holden 2
Watch Dog:

Remember the Cessna 172 that landed on the White House lawn a few years ago?
Jeff Akerman 2
I wish i was in that plane!
Paul Reece 2
Thank you very enlightening.
Jared Maurtua 2
That would actually be SCARY and cool!
Aaron Donnelly 2
How cool is that!
Casey Strickland 3
Don't course restricted zones and airspaces :P
Randy Lievertz 1
Do any of you remember the teenager who flew a small plane from what was West Germany into Russian airspace undetected until the last few miles? I think it was in the late 1960's or early 1970's. He embarassed the Soviets who failed to detect him.
Watch Dog -1
"Recently, AOPA staffer Bob Knill and I joined the Civil Air Patrol in a single-engine, fixed-gear GippsAero G-8 Airvan on an aerial exercise that gives the U.S. Air Force F-16 pilots based at Andrews Air Force Base some practice at identifying and tracking relatively slow-moving general aviation aircraft near the Washington, D.C., area."

Yeah, about they practice this for large turbine powered aircraft traveling at 350+ kias.

Honestly the SFRA is stupid, and a knee jerk reaction (and a lot money wasted) to a threat which is not real.

I mean, was it Cessna 172's that plowed into the trade center and pentagon?

So yeah, let's go out and intercept "relatively slow-moving general aviation aircraft."

Washington is retarded.
JetMech24 3
Do you really think that our pilots would have a problem targeting a great big commercial airliner? They need practice at tiny, WAY slower targets.
Roland Dent 2
I have no doubt at all...if this was a large machine it would be disabled by ordnance. Either with air to air or from the ground. This video is targeted at GA not the pro sabateur.
Andres Pico 0
The longer article covers the "sparkle" procedures but fails to mention that what might come next for the pilot who disregards that warning is a potential surface to air missile engagement.

The article also fails to mention that these exercises are also run agaisnt commercial jet aircraft for what should be a fairly obvious threat profile.

The comments that denigrate this kind of security exercise demonstrate an incredible lack of memory and awareness of the potential threat.
Cole Meierstein 0
It sure is fun to be the fighter pilot on the "rocket cover" mission in FSX where you have to intercept a GA Cessna Caravan that gets too close to Cape Canaveral.
alistairm -4
egnilk66 3
Not sure if you remember 9/11 or not...


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