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Tue, Apr 01, 2008

FAA (Acting) Administrator Busts Camp David TFR

"Sheesh, Those Things Are Everywhere!"

ANN APRIL 1st "SPECIAL" EDITION: Boy, is his face red... and not because of the sun shining through the windscreen of his Cessna 172. Acting FAA Administrator Robert Sturgell recently was presented with the chance to renew his formation flying skills, after his private plane inadvertantly crossed the outer boundary to the infamous P-40 "Temporary" Flight Restriction over Camp David.

The incursion occurred sometime in early March, according to unnamed sources.

"It was a beautiful day, and I thought I'd get a little closer to my flying roots," said Strugell, a former US Navy airman and commercial pilot. "So I rented a C172 from a local FBO, got checked out again, and took the skies. I had my sectional chart and thought I'd computed the wind-correction angle correctly, but I guess not.

"To be fair, I'm used to flying aircraft that tell the wind what to do, not the other way around," Sturgell added.

Upon the aircraft's violation of P-40 -- a five-mile-wide swath of restricted airspace overhanging the presidential retreat -- two F-16s were dispatched from Andrews AFB to intercept the wayward Skyhawk.

"Man, was that a sight," Sturgell said. "I know everybody says this, but I wish I'd had my camera... I haven't seen precision flying like that since my days at Top Gun."

Sturgell was directed on emergency frequency to land immediately at a nearby, unnamed general aviation field.

Most TFR incursions result in at least a temporary suspension of the offending pilot's license... but Sturgell was reportedly cut a break.

"I can't fly for 30 days," Sturgell said, "and I have to complete an online AOPA course about TFRs. Still, I know I got off lucky... and sheesh, those things are everywhere!"

FMI: www.tfr.faa.gov

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