The FAA and general aviation organizations have stepped up efforts to inform pilots flying in the airspace around the Washington and Baltimore areas about a new laser light system the North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad) is using to warn unauthorized aircraft they have violated the national capital region air defense identification zone (ADIZ) and/or the smaller flight restricted zone (FRZ) within it.
Washington Air Defense Identification Zone
General aviation’s quest to return to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) sustained a blow last month when two Pennsylvania pilots caused another panicked evacuation of the White House, Congress and the Supreme Court. Their Cessna 150 flew to within three miles of the White House.
A Senate amendment that called for severe fines, loss of license and aircraft confiscation for violating the flight restricted zone (FRZ) in the Washington air defense identification zone was stripped from the Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill last month.
As the pressure mounts in Congress to do something about pilots who bust the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) around Washington, D.C., the FAA has apparently decided to try to head off any “draconian” legislation.
In the aftermath of 9/11, the number-one priority quickly became answering “How did it happen?” and “How do we stop it from happening again?”
Four years later, we know how it happened, leaving the matter of how to stop it from happening again, and raising a third question: “How safe are we?”
Federal legislation (H.R. 3465) has been introduced that would levy a fine of between $10,000 and $100,000 and impose a certificate suspension of at least two years against a pilot who violates the D.C. flight-restricted zone. A maximum of $5,000 would be assessed against a pilot who enters the D.C. air defense identification zone without a clearance.
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.
Despite some 20,000 negative comments and calls to abolish the Washington, D.C., air defense identification zone (ADIZ), a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill resulted in little progress in making flying in or near the large block of airspace less onerous for general aviation pilots.
With nearly 20,000 comments received on the proposal to make the Washington, D.C., air defense identification zone (ADIZ) permanent, the FAA will hold two public meetings this month to give pilots, airport managers and others a chance to present their views on the proposal.
To help pilots understand the complexities of today’s stricter airspace rules and reduce violations for operating in restricted airspace–particularly the special airspace in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area–the FAA has posted an online, self-administered training course at www. faasafety.gov/ALC. Pilots who complete the course and pass a 25-question test receive a certificate of completion.