Coast Guard aircrew intercepts single-engine airplane

WASHINGTON – Approximately 12:18 p.m. today a Coast Guard HH-65C Dolphin helicopter crew launched to intercept a single-engine Cessna-177 airplane, that violated the National Capitol Region airspace in Washington.

The pilot of the Cessna was escorted by the helicopter crew to Leesburg, Va., Regional Airport.

The pilot landed and was met by Loudoun County Sheriff’s Department personnel and federal law enforcement officials.

“The Coast Guard’s unique authorities and competencies as both a military service and a federal law enforcement agency enable us to assume permanent responsibility for executing the vital mission of protecting the National Capital Region airspace for the Department of Homeland Security in support of NORAD’s multi-layered air defense mission,” said Adm. Thad W. Allen, Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard.

With its rotary-wing air intercept capability, the Coast Guard has been directed to support the NORAD mission, called Operation NOBLE EAGLE (ONE). The Coast Guard is coordinating with other military and civilian agencies to complement NORAD’s overall multi-layered air defense of critical infrastructure and personnel.

Since the fall of 2006, Coast Guard aircrews from Air Station Atlantic City, N.J., have begun forward-deploying to the Air Defense Facility at Reagan National Airport in Washington. From there, the crews are responsible for launching to intercept and determine the intent of low-altitude, slow-airspeed aircraft that may enter National Capital Region airspace.

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2 Comments

  1. madman says:

    I was at home and heard on 121.5 (air emergency frequency) a Coast Guard copter intercepting what sounded like a Maryland State Police helicopter. This after repeated calls by the Air Force on 121.5 to this “unidentified aircraft” on a VFR-1200 code to leave the restricted airspace immediately. The CG copter finally caught up to the Trooper copter and was screaming at him to slow down so he could be intercepted. Great listening on 1212.5 for a change.

    Any word on this incident would be an interesting read.

  2. Ben says:

    I love the Cessna. It’s easy to fly and maintain. Base asking prices aren’t too bad. Picked mine up yesterday! Cheers.