This time, it was a Canadian plane’s turn to violate the DC ADIZ, the enormous restricted airspace around Washington, DC (the plane did not go anywhere near the White House or Capitol). In fact, planes violate the ADIZ all the time, usually without news coverage.
I wonder if all of this hassle for pilots, air traffic control, the military, and ordinary U.S. citizens brings any public safety benefits. It’s telling that New York City, which suffered more than Washington in the September 11 attacks, has almost completely reopened its airspace and does not require any special codes or preclearance (you can fly VFR right into Teterboro, for example, without filing a flight plan or talking to any ATC unit but Teterboro tower). Private planes are even allowed back into the Hudson River VFR corridor, where they can fly at 500 feet MSL between Manhattan and New Jersey, looking into the windows of skyscrapers moving past the wing.
In Ottawa, our nation’s capital, we briefly had a no-fly zone over most of the city core (including Parliament Hill and Rideau Hall) up to 3,000 ft MSL after the September 11 attacks, but that has been scaled back so far now that you’d actually have to be buzzing the Peace Tower to get busted. The airspace restrictions during President Bush’s visit last fall gave us a brief taste of what life must be like for pilots in some parts of the U.S., and I can confirm that the flavour was pretty bitter.