Operation Liberty Shield yields notams and TFRs

 - January 16, 2008, 10:54 AM

In what has been the biggest flurry of notams, TFR issuances and general uncertainty since 9/11, the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) have issued the first of what could become a blizzard of aviation-related paperwork resulting from the war in Iraq.

The initial moves toward greater airspace control in the face of a conflict that’s come to be known in many circles as “Gulf War II” were a step down from earlier rumors that predicted a complete U.S. airspace lockdown, similar to what followed the World Trade Center/ Pentagon terrorist attacks would be slapped into place throughout U.S. airspace for a full 48 hours.

No such Draconian moves had been imposed at press time. The first, most obvious changes made to U.S. domestic airspace rules as the nation neared the March 19th deadline for the voluntary removal of the regime of Saddam Hussein from power was a series of seven new notams strengthening already restricted airspace. Briefly, they were:

• Notam FDC 3/2120–In brief, this notam erases all waivers granted to fly over sports events as issued under Notam 3/1862.

• Notam FDC 3/2122–This prohibits aircraft operations at and below 3,000 feet agl within a three-nautical-mile radius of the DisneyWorld theme park in Orlando, Fla. (N28 24.45/W081 34.20 or the Orlando [ORL] Vortac 243 degree radial at 15 nm).

• Notam FDC 3/2123–Nearly identical to 3/2122, this new notam prohibits aircraft operations at and below 3,000 feet agl within a three-nautical-mile radius of the Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, Calif. (N33 48.05/W117 55.17).

• Notam FDC 3/2128–This immediately suspends, until further notice, all waivers granted for the Washington, D.C. area flight restricted zone (FRZ) that are identified by a three-letter authorization of PIC, CSO, CRP, POA, ADO and SVY.

• Notam FDC 3/2124–This establishes Tipton Airport, Md., as a gateway airport for the “DC3” airports: College Park Airport, Potomac Airfield and Washington Executive/Hyde Field. This gateway requirement applies only to these three airports.

• Notam FDC 3/2126, Washington DC ADIZ, and Notam FDC 3/2127, New York Metropolitan area ADIZ–These define the operational procedures for the Washington, D.C., and New York metropolitan area air defense identification zones (ADIZ). Aircraft operating in these zones must be equipped with an operable two-way radio capable of communicating with ATC on appropriate radio frequencies. Flight crews must establish two-way radio communications with the appropriate ATC facility before operating in either ADIZ and they must maintain the capability of continuing two-way radio communications with the appropriate ATC facility while operating in the ADIZ. Aircraft are exempt from the ATC communication requirement, provided they monitor the airport CTAF. The flight crew, before operating within Class B, C, or D airspace must receive a separate ATC clearance to operate in this airspace. The aircraft also must be equipped with an operating transponder with automatic altitude reporting capability as specified in FAR 91.215.

Before operating the aircraft in either ADIZ, the flight crew needs to obtain a discrete transponder code from ATC. The aircraft’s transponder must continuously transmit the ATC issued discrete transponder code while the aircraft is operating in either ADIZ. Additionally, before operating an aircraft in either ADIZ, pilots must file their flight plan with an AFSS, must activate their flight plan before departure or entering the ADIZ and must close their flight plan upon landing or leaving the ADIZ. Part 91, 101, 103, 105, 125, 133, 135, 137 flight operations are prohibited within the Washington, D.C. FRZ.

It should be noted that the area of New York the ADIZ is the New York Class B veil. This does not mean only Class B airspace but extends to the limits of the mode-C “rings,” or 30 nautical miles, from the centers of Kennedy, La Guardia and Newark Airports. The vertical limits of the ADIZ are from the surface to 18,000 feet.

• Notam FDC 3/2290–This restricts flight over downtown Chicago and was made effective March 22. In accordance with FAR 99.7, all VFR flight operations, except for medevac, law enforcement, rescue/recovery, emergency evacuation and firefighting operations, are prohibited within an area beginning on the Lake Michigan shore line (N41 52.32/W87 36.58), then west via the Eisenhower expressway to the intersection of the Dan Ryan expressway (N41 52.32/ W87 38.44), then north via the Dan Ryan/Kennedy to the intersection of Ashland avenue (N41 54.54/W87 40.04), then north via Ashland to the intersection of Irving park road (N41 57.16/W87 40.10), then east via Irving park to lake Michigan shoreline (N41 57.18/W87 38.28) and finally south via the shoreline excluding Olive Park and Navy Pier to the point of beginning at and below 3,000 feet agl unless authorized by ATC.

Requirements for international operations are pretty much status quo–except for the region surrounding Iraq. The latest status of flight prohibitions and potentially hostile situations is available on the FAA’s restrictions on international aviation Web site at www.intl.faa.gov/restricthome.cfm.