The White House and Capitol Building in Washington, DC, were evacuated for a short time mid-day today when a small plane entered restricted airspace. Two Air Force F-16 fighter jets and a Department of Homeland Security Blackhawk helicopter were scrambled to intercept the aircraft. Warplanes issued warnings and fired at least four flares in an attempt to deter the intruding aircraft before it finally turned away from the Capitol.
The plane landed later under military escort at a suburban airport, and the pilot and passenger were both taken into custody.
The plane left from an airport in Pennsylvania and was apparently headed for North Carolina. It flew directly toward the nation’s capital in radio silence, and the pilot did not acknowledge radio or visual contact with fighters until they fired flares. While it is now reported that a training pilot and instructor were aboard, the persistent lack of contact and trajectory of the aircraft remains suspicious.
[Updated 5:45pm with new information]