Submitted by John Burke

1967-05-03 Cessna N2220G 182 230


We were over Baltimore Friendship Airport (known today as BWI),the largest airport in the area, when I called Washington approach. N2220G did not have a transponder and the thunderstorms predicted for the area were clearly visible ahead so I decided
to buy some insurance.

Approach picked up my skin paint right away and I told them I was headed for BAILEY’S CROSSROAD’S. Shortly 2220G was headed toward the prohibited area around the White House and I was getting nervous. I called and was assured that they knew where I was and directed me to turn toward Washington National (known today as (DCA) Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport). The controller said that he was going to ask Washington National to let me cross directly over the field and on to Bailey’s Crossroads. I was less than 3000 feet, no rain yet, but soon! A few minutes later the airport was in sight so I thanked the controller, who had been very helpful indeed, and broke contact.

I looked to make sure that my wife and two small children were secure and back to the airport which had disappeared. Do I contact approach again? No, I went back to the last good checkpoint and re-established my compass heading and sure enough the airport was still there. My eyes remained glued to that airport, turned base then final over a drive-in theater. Strange how well I remember that drive-in theater.

The clouds were low and very black, almost like nighttime. No other traffic or human being in sight. Shut down, tie down, grab the children and run for the office building (shack). Locked and no one in sight as the coming rain had sent everyone scurrying for home. There was a phone booth outside the office and I was able to call a car rental agency. Within the hour we were headed for a motel and thankful to be dry and on the ground.


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