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GA pilot busts TFR, president evacuated

AOPA reminds pilots to check notams thoroughly

A pilot mistakenly found himself in the inner ring of a VIP temporary flight restriction near President Joe Biden’s Delaware vacation home on June 4, prompting the Secret Service to evacuate the president and the first lady temporarily.

A General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon. U.S. Air Force photo by Yasuo Osakabe.

Anthony Guglielmi of the Secret Service said in a statement that a privately owned aircraft had mistakenly entered the secured area over Rehoboth, Delaware. “The aircraft was immediately escorted out of the restricted airspace. Preliminary investigation reveals the pilot was not on the proper radio channel, was not following NOTAMS … that had been filed and was not following published flight guidance. The United States Secret Service will be interviewing the pilot.”

AOPA Director of Airspace, Air Traffic, and Security Jim McClay said, “This most recent incident reinforces the necessity for GA pilots to always thoroughly check NOTAMS. This should be standard for every flight, whether it’s a cross-country flight, or a 10-mile hop to a neighboring airport.”

Remembering to check for notams before each flight and following published guidance during the flight are key, but knowing what to do if you find yourself being intercepted is just as important.

“If you are not familiar with how to respond to an intercept,” McClay said, “it is critical that you review this information. Responding promptly and correctly can prevent a bad situation from getting worse."

Niki Britton

eMedia Content Producer
eMedia Content Producer Niki Britton joined AOPA in 2021. She is a private pilot who enjoys flying her 1969 Cessna 182 and taking aerial photographs.
Topics: Advocacy, Security, Temporary Flight Restriction

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