Barr Dispute Jumps into Federal Court Next Month

 - November 3, 2011, 2:50 PM

People who want to continue blocking their aircraft tail numbers from for-profit Internet flight-tracking services will get their day in court next month. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will hear arguments December 2 in Washington in a case brought by NBAA and AOPA.

The two associations seek to overturn the restrictions that the government imposed on the Block Aircraft Registration Request (Barr) program. For the moment, aircraft owners and operators who want to opt out of having their aviation movements tracked and broadcast must pass a complex FAA standard to do so.

With the advent of Internet flight-tracking services, Congress in 2000 authorized the Barr program, which is administered by NBAA, to allow operators to block their flight operations from public view.

But the Department of Transportation announced earlier this year that it would dismantle the program on August 2 in the name of “government transparency.” When the program officially ended, general aviation groups advised that operators under the Barr program “should assume their flights will appear on flight-tracking displays.” They encouraged aviators who believe they meet the new requirements for inclusion in the FAA’s opt-out list to apply.