Small Aircraft Radio Malfunction Causes Law Enforcement Swarm @ Maryland Airport

On Dec. 28 at 11:16 a.m., Charles County Sheriff's officers and Maryland State Police troopers responded to Maryland Airport at 3900 Livingston Road in Indian Head for a report of a civilian airplane that had been forced to land at the airport. The investigation has revealed the pilot, an 84-year-old Alexandria, Va., man, took off at Hyde Field in Clinton at 9:40 a.m. and flew to an airport in Stafford, Va. in accordance with a flight plan he filed at approximately 6 a.m.

At approximately 10:30 a.m., he began his return to Hyde Field and at 10:50 a.m., he received instructions from flight controllers to turn around, a standard procedure when for civilian pilots when flight controllers can not immediately access a pilot's flight plan. The pilot radioed his acknowledgment of the order but did not receive a response. When he switched to an emergency channel but still did not hear a response, he discovered his plane was having an electrical malfunction. He flew to the nearest airport, Maryland Airport, which was several miles away and landed his plane. Shortly thereafter, a military helicopter that was responding to intercept the airplane landed at the airport as well.

Sheriff's Office intelligence investigators responded and interviewed the man along with the United States Secret Service. Federal, state and local officials have determined this is not a criminal matter and no charges will be filed. Therefore, the pilot's name is not being released. The incident will be referred to the Federal Aviation Administration for review.

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