Industry awaits publication of final rule on D.C. ADIZ

 - December 1, 2008, 4:28 AM

AOPA expects the Department of Transportation will publish the final rule on the Washington, D.C., air defense identification zone (ADIZ) days before President-elect Barack Obama takes office.

In an attempt to make a permanent ADIZ more palatable, AOPA met with the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on November 10. The association proposed two alternatives to the permanent ADIZ.

The OMB, which is currently reviewing the FAA’s proposal to make the airspace permanent, is one of the last hurdles a proposal must clear before being implemented as a final rule.

AOPA’s first alternative would allow an ADIZ to be established by notam anytime security needed to be heightened. Another alternative would shrink the ADIZ

to a 20-nm radius around the DCA VOR/DME.

“Either action would improve general aviation health in the region,” Andy Cebula, AOPA executive v-p of government affairs, told OMB officials, explaining that airports are under increased pressure to close, pilots no longer regularly fly into the Washington metro area for business or personal travel, and many aircraft owners relocated their airplanes to airports outside the ADIZ or stopped flying.

“We also remind the OMB officials that the government has never presented a specific, intelligence-based threat assessment to justify the ADIZ,” Cebula said.

On multiple occasions, Congress has expressed concerns about the ADIZ and called security officials to testify about the airspace restrictions surrounding Washington.

The ADIZ, published by notam in 2003 when the U.S. invaded Iraq, was said at the time to be a temporary measure. When the FAA proposed in early 2006 to make it permanent, more than 22,000 pilots posted original comments that the agency had to wade through.

Since that time, the ADIZ, which originally encompassed all Washington/Baltimore Class B airspace, has been shrunk to a 30-nm radius of the DCA VOR/ DME. This opened some airports that had been inside the ADIZ, and special procedures were created for others. But the impact on airports that lie within the flight-restricted zone of the ADIZ has not been mitigated.

The FAA also is requiring that pilots who fly within 60 miles of the VOR/DME take special ADIZ awareness online training. Pilots who fly near the area must complete the training by February 9.