AOPA has expressed serious concerns about a new letter to airmen issued by Potomac approach control requiring pilots flying in traffic patterns of nontowered airports within the Washington special flight rules area (SFRA) to report their flight’s completion on a “provided telephone number.” Radio reports of termination will no longer be accepted.
Special Flight Rules Area
The FAA released its final rule on December 15 making the Washington, D.C. air defense identification zone (ADIZ)–which was imposed in February 2003 as a “temporary” flight restriction (TFR) area in the runup to the invasion of Iraq–a permanent fixture. It will go into effect sometime next month.
Despite heavy opposition by pilots and aviation alphabet groups, airspace restrictions and procedures implemented around Washington, D.C., after 9/11–namely the 15-nm-radius Flight Restricted Zone (FRZ) and 30-nm-radius Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA), both centered at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)–were made permanent under a final rule issued yesterday by the FAA.
As opposition continued to mount against a plan to make the Washington, D.C., air defense identification zone (ADIZ) permanent, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta announced at the AOPA Expo that he has extended the comment period deadline from November 2 to February 6.
As the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) mounted a “national pilot alert” against the proposed permanent air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the Washington, D.C. area, general aviation received another black eye when a 22-year-old commercial-rated pilot allegedly stole a Citation VII and took it on a 350-mile joyride from St. Augustine Airport in Florida to Gwinnett County-Briscoe Field (LZU) in Lawrenceville, Ga.
While many in general aviation were seeking to modify or eliminate the much-loathed Washington air defense identification zone (ADIZ), the FAA executed a 180-degree course change early last month and issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to make the ADIZ permanent.
Last month pilots, airport managers and others gathered at two public meetings to tell the FAA what they think of the agency’s proposal to make the Washington, D.C. air defense identification zone (ADIZ) a permanent fixture. But lurking in the rooms like a stealthy 900-pound gorilla was the even more worrisome possibility that the FAA might mandate similar “security” treatment elsewhere.
The comment period on the proposal to transform the Washington, D.C., air defense identification zone (ADIZ)–which covers 3,700 sq mi that closely follow the Washington-Baltimore Class B airspace–into the Washington area special flight rules area (SFRA) closed early last month, with the FAA receiving a record 21,380 responses.