- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 31, 2002

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) At least 62 pilots have violated an expanded no-fly zone over Camp David since September 11, the Federal Aviation Administration says.
Authorities said many of the incursions apparently reflected confusion about the boundaries, which changed repeatedly for weeks before they were set at eight nautical miles from the presidential retreat. Before September 11, the restricted zone was a radius of three nautical miles around Camp David.
In conventional terms, the no-fly zone increased from about 3.5 miles to 9.2 miles around Camp David, hidden inside Catoctin Mountain Park in northern Frederick County.
Aircraft that violate the zone are tracked until they land or are forced down by military jets. The pilots are investigated to determine whether the action is intentional, FAA spokesman Jim Peters said.
Local pilots say they are familiar with the expanded zone and avoid it.
"It is just something you have to live with," said Howard Leedham, chief pilot for Aero-Smith Inc., a charter carrier based at Hagerstown Regional Airport.
Most of those who violated the zone were from outside the region and were unaware of the changes, said Warren Morningstar, vice president of the Frederick-based Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, a national civil aviation group.
For at least a few weeks after the attacks, the boundaries varied, depending on who was staying at Camp David. Some pilots were confused by the changes, Mr. Morningstar said.
David Pence, Hagerstown air-traffic manager, said pilots who call the airport's tower are reminded of the expanded boundaries.
Frederick-based pilot Richard Collins says no landmarks easily define the zone except on its southern boundary, which touches Interstate 70.
On Friday, the FAA approved a limited exception allowing pilots with approved flight plans to approach Hagerstown's main runway from the east, airport manager Carolyn Motz said Monday.
The eastern approach zone includes instruments that guide pilots to the runway when visibility is low. Because of the expanded no-fly zone, pilots had been forced to choose between a noninstrumental landing or diverting to another airport when visibility was poor, Miss Motz said.


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