Friday, April 22, 2022

Federal Aviation Administration apologizes for failing to alert Capitol police over parachute jump

WASHINGTON, April 22 (Reuters) - The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) apologized late Friday for failing to provide advance notification to the U.S. Capitol Police of a small airplane flight that prompted a security scare earlier this week.

The single-engine plane flying the U.S. Army's Golden Knights parachute demonstration team over a baseball game near the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday was mistaken for a potential security threat. 

"We did not provide advance notification of this event to the U.S. Capitol Police," the FAA said in disclosing its initial review findings. "We deeply regret that we contributed to a precautionary evacuation of the Capitol complex and apologize for the disruption and fear experienced by those who work there."

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday criticized what she said was an "outrageous and frightening mistake" by the FAA for failing to alert Capitol Police to the pre-planned performance over the Washington Nationals baseball stadium.

The FAA said Wednesday it is "taking immediate steps to ensure that we always coordinate well in advance with other agencies to avoid confusion over future aviation events in the Washington, D.C., area."

The FAA review is continuing, it added, pledging to "take any additional steps necessary to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future."

The U.S. Capitol Police on Wednesday first said they were tracking an aircraft that posed a "probable threat" to the Capitol complex, but minutes later said there was no threat.

The Golden Knights parachuted into the Washington Nationals' baseball stadium, Nationals Park, a little over a mile away from the U.S. Capitol.

Pelosi said Wednesday Congress would review what went wrong. Pelosi's office did not immediately comment late Friday. She said Congress wanted to know who at the FAA "will be held accountable for this outrageous and frightening mistake."

Capitol Police said in an email to congressional staff Wednesday seen by Reuters it "will be working with our airspace partners to address the notification issues."


  1. Unnecessary panic for lawmakers and staff.

    As a pilot for 60 years, the Washington DC airspace restrictions has always puzzled me. You need very tight control of the airspace, but right in the middle of it is Reagan National Airport where commercial aircraft fly low above the Potomac river, from the north or south, on their final approach to landing. Both directions fly very close to the restricted Mall area constantly. It would be very hard to stop any purposeful deviation (as on 911) or out of control problems that would have the aircraft flying the short distance to the Capitol in a matter of seconds. But all the politicians on Capitol Hill just love the airport in their back yard, makes it easy to get out of town. An unnecessary Washington political swamp problem: Convenience over Security.

    1. Nothing but a bunch of misfits in the current administration. But hey, they are woke so all is good.

    2. The total lack of coordination over our nation’s capital airspace for a simple event like this should be wildly and completely ALARMING.

    3. Professional sports are built on corporate welfare. It's the whole business model.

      Taxpayers build the stadiums. Public universities fund the farm teams.

      It's socialism for the uber-rich guys that own the teams. But don't worry . . it's not the bad socialism that might pay for your cancer treatments or put a poor kid through college.

    4. The FBI is not doing their job.

    5. This shows how gullible the media and public are.

      The Army parachute team organization couldn't plan and execute an approved exercise orbiting that area without making the required notifications well in advance as required by protocol.

      Pretending that an "unknown" aircraft was a threat to the capitol apparatchiks may have been a theatrical performance to augment the ongoing January 6 theme in the minds of the public.

      The capitol police are not the first line of defense against intruding aircraft and this wasn't the Army Golden Knights' first jump event over a sensitive location.

    6. The plane was marked Army? The parachutes read Army in bold script? The two soldiers making the jump wore Army logos? Did Pelosi really say the fear generated by seeing two soldiers make a promotional sports jump caused serious damage to staff and member [psyches]? How fragile. I just sigh in amazement! But the blacks shooting whites nearby did not faze anyone!

  2. Can't blame her for being nervous. If I was that much of a low life I'd worry too.

  3. SO...if we made a mistake would the FAA accept "sorry" or would an 709 be in order? Asking for a friend