Wayward Pilot Won't Appeal Revoked License

The FAA will allow him to apply for a new certificate in 10 months, instead of the 12-month wait officials originally said was required.


WASHINGTON (AP) -- The pilot who caused the frantic evacuation of the Capitol and the White House last month has given up trying to get his pilot's license back, at least for now.

The Federal Aviation Administration revoked Hayden Sheaffer's license because it considered him an unacceptable risk to safety. The FAA said on Wednesday that Sheaffer has withdrawn his appeal of that decision.

The FAA will allow him to apply for a new certificate in 10 months, FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said, instead of the 12-month wait officials originally said was required.

Sheaffer will have to pass written, oral and practical tests before he can get a new certificate, Brown said.

Sheaffer's errant flight into the restricted area around the Washington Monument on May 11 led to the scrambling of military aircraft and evacuation of thousands of people.

Sheaffer's passenger, a student pilot, was at the plane's controls, but the FAA didn't take any action against him.

They were flying a small single-engine plane from Smoketown, Pa., to an air show in North Carolina.

According to the FAA, Sheaffer, 69, hadn't met the requirements to have a passenger. He also didn't take the most basic steps required of pilots before flying a plane, the FAA said. He failed to check the weather report before taking off, and he didn't check the FAA's ''Notices to Airmen,'' which informs pilots of airspace restrictions and how to respond to a military aircraft.

When he got lost, he didn't call air traffic control or a flight service station to establish his location, the FAA said.

The plane was intercepted by a U.S. Customs Service Black Hawk helicopter and a Citation jet, and then by two F-16 fighters that dropped four flares.

Sheaffer and his passenger were taken into custody in Frederick, Md., where they were questioned and released.

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