On May 11 a light Cessna piloted by two Amish farmers from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania caused a panic when it inadvertently strayed into restricted airspace. Both the White House and Capitol Building were evacuated. President Bush, who was riding his bicycle at Camp David, was not notified of the incident until after he had been served his cookies and hot cocoa that evening.
Since that incident, several hang gliders, another Cessna, fourteen hot air balloons and a Zeppelin have strayed into the no-fly zone over the nation’s capital.
An unnamed Pentagon spokesman said that a frustrated Rumsfeld has ordered several hundred new antiaircraft batteries placed in and around Washington. Also, the Air Force now has standing orders to fire nuclear missiles at “anything that moves” in the restricted airspace.
Amos Stoltzfus is the 89-year-old Amish farmer and airplane hobbyist who flew the two-engine Cessna from the Smoketown Airport deep in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country in the May 11 incident. In an appearance on the Today show today, he explained that he didn’t realize anything was wrong until an F-16 fighter jet shot a flare past his cockpit.
“We Amish don’t use electricity, so we din’t notice them lasers or radio voices them folks was talkin’ about. Don’t know why they was all makin’ such a fuss. They was actin’ like the barn roof was on fire or sumthin’.”
Stoltzfus explained that he had specially adapted his Cessna so that its twin engines were powered by re-engineered bicycles which he and his student pilot pedaled by foot. Communications with the ground were handled by a set of special secret Amish hand signals.
The FAA immediately suspended Stoltzfus’ flying license after the scare, but lawyers for the Amish man are suing the federal government to have it reinstated.