Rogue Navy Aircraft Entered Restricted Air Space

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    The Navy says an unmanned aircraft went off course during testing and entered restricted airspace near the District Aug. 2.

    The aircraft was an MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicle, one of six the Navy is testing for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations. It was supposed to fly a preprogrammed route over the Webster Field Annex at the naval air station at Patuxent River, Md.

    During the test, controllers lost the link to the aircraft and it flew off route into the restricted area. Navy spokesman Lt. Myers Vasquez said the craft was about 40 miles away from Washington. The Federal Aviation Administration was notified that it was a Navy craft so they were aware and monitoring it.

    The controllers were able to reprogram the craft and bring it back to the field about 20 minutes after they lost contact with it. Vasquez said the plane had flown about 1,000 hours and never had a similar incident.

    Authorities have been on high alert for planes entering air space in and around major government buildings in the national capital region since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.


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