Yes… And no.
On September 12, 1994, Frank Corder crashed a stolen Cessna 150 into the White House lawn. IIRC, a window on the White House was broken.
Since 9/11, there have been flight restrictions in place around DC. There’s an outer 30 mile radius ring where you must be positively identified and have permission to fly, this is known as the SFRA (Special Flight Rules Area). There’s an inner 15-mile radius ring called the FRZ (Flight Restricted Zone) that requires fingerprinting, FBI background check, and lots of other hoops to jump through. There are still three small airports in this inner zone, though they have much less traffic than they used to.
But there’s also Reagan National. From the departure end of runway 1 at Reagan National Airport to the White House is about two nautical miles, which can be covered by an airliner in well under a minute. No chance to scramble fighters to take them out.
- During a president's term in the White House, what is he and his family expected to pay for out of his own presidential salary?
- How clean was the White House by the time Obama left office?
- Will Trump successfully complete his first term in the White House without quitting, or being impeached?
- Now that the White House is unravelling due to Trump Jnr's emails. How long will it take for the USA to wake up and get rid of Trump?
- Est-il possible d'adopter des lois pour que les réunions d'information de la Maison-Blanche se déroulent sous serment?
Ironically, the restrictions around Washington only apply to small airplanes, not the big ones that actually represent a threat. It’s easy to restrict small planes because it affects relatively few people when you do so. If they were to restrict airline flights out of Reagan National, it would inconvenience many more people, and 538 of those people would surely do something about it.
Now… Rumor has it that there are secret service agents with MANPADS stationed atop the White House 24×7. They did not shoot down Frank Corder because he didn’t really represent a threat. It’d be tough for them to shoot down an airliner from Reagan, though, because identifying that the aircraft is truly a threat could not happen until pretty late in the process, and then there’s the risk assessment of protecting one person vs. raining down burning airplane parts and bodies on a pretty large highly-populated area. I hope we never have to find out what happens in that scenario.