What are the CURRENT rules regarding flight above the nation’s capitol? Have they been relaxed recently? I work downtown, and when I get a chance to relax I can go to the building’s rooftop for a break. I get to watch airliners arrive or depart DCA. An occasional medevac chopper will fly by to the north of us. On rare occasions, a news or police chopper will fly overhead. Sometimes you even get to see the choppers used as “Marine One” flying around!
Since September 11th, I can honestly say that I have not seen a small GA aircraft flying ANYWHERE within sight of the city. Uh… that was until last week! On Friday, we had a departmental meeting on the roof, and we all noticed a Cessna circling overhead - just to the north of the prohibited areas of the National Mall and the White House. He made three left-turning circles as we were expecting (kinda hoping) to see F-16s make a sudden appearance from out of nowhere, but they never showed and the plane left the area peacefully (don’t remember which direction he flew away). Again, today, I saw a small Cessna - perhaps the same plane - flying away from the area to the northwest… The weather was good in both instances, so I’m thinkin’ both planes were flying under VFR.
Would this have been a government plane, a private plane with special permission, or maybe a plane filed IFR and taking liberties with doing a few loops hoping not to be noticed by controllers…?
I’d say he was at about 2,000 feet both times…