updated 5/23/2005 6:06:49 PM ET 2005-05-23T22:06:49

The government has revoked the license of the pilot in charge of the small plane that strayed to within three miles of the White House on May 11, forcing the panicked evacuation of thousands of people from the executive mansion, Capitol and Supreme Court.

Though hundreds of people have mistakenly flown into Washington’s restricted airspace, this was believed to be the first such revocation.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday that it had issued an emergency revocation of Hayden L. Sheaffer’s pilot’s license because he “constitutes an unacceptable risk to safety in air commerce.”

The agency said no action would be taken against Sheaffer’s student, who was also in the plane.

“This action reflects the seriousness in which we view all restricted airspace violations and, in this case, the level of incursion into restricted airspace,” said FAA spokesman Greg Martin.

The plane entered restricted airspace and then continued flying toward highly sensitive areas, prompting evacuations of tens of thousands of people as military aircraft scrambled to intercept it.

The student, 36-year-old Troy Martin, who had logged only 30 hours of flight time, had control of the small Cessna single engine plane when a U.S. Customs Service Black Hawk helicopter and a Citation jet intercepted it. The pair were flying to an air show in North Carolina.

Sheaffer didn’t take the most basic steps required of pilots before operating an aircraft, the FAA said. He failed to check the weather report before leaving Smoketown, Pa., and he didn’t check the FAA’s “Notices to Airmen,” which informs pilots of airspace restrictions.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments