Channel surfing to save your life

(Please note, because of the time that has passed since I wrote this article, it may no longer reflect my current views or the most accurate and complete information available on this subject.)

Hayden L. Sheaffer, the pilot who is being raked over the coals for his role in flying a Cessna 150 into restricted airspace over Washington D.C. earlier this month, which prompted the scrambling of jets and the evacuation of thousands, noted today that he did in fact try to contact the military on the radio channel they instructed him to use, but that he couldn't get through. In today's issues, the New York Times reports that the Department of Homeland Security acknowledged that Sheaffer was instructed to use a frequency that was not available at the time. What? Huh? Okay, the guy shouldn't have gotten lost in the first place, but the whole incident was fairly ridiculous, and the thought that they might have been blown out of the sky because they were given instructions they couldn't follow is a pretty scary one. When I was flying Cessnas with minimal avionics (far from restricted airspace, mind you), I don't think would've had much of a "plan B" in that case either.

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