Representative Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Representative Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) introduced bipartisan legislation (H.R. 3465) in the 109th Congress that would increase penalties and assess fines for pilots who violate the Washington, D.C., Flight Restricted Zone (FRZ) or the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).
The Blunt-Hoyer bill was introduced as a result of recent incursions of the no-fly-zone that resulted in the evacuation of the Capitol and White House.
The legislation would impose fines of between $10,000 and $100,000 for pilots who violate the D.C. FRZ, and fines of up to $5,000 for pilots who violate the D.C. ADIZ.
Pilots who violate the D.C. FRZ would have their pilot certificate revoked for between two to five years.
The legislation also directs the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to develop and require pilots to undergo specialized instruction on proper airspace procedures to include:
The pilot will be required to have a logbook endorsement certifying successful completion of the training, and that endorsement must be verified prior to renting an aircraft that will be operated in the national capital region.
In addition, the FAA would be directed to include material on flight restrictions on both the written and practical tests for pilot certification and ensure that notams are issued timely and easily accessible to all pilots operating in the surrounding airspace.
Education, not penalties, is key to reducing the number of airspace incursions. Stricter penalties like what is proposed in this bill do not increase pilot awareness.
The FAA has already announced it is implementing a training program for pilots flying near the Washington, D.C., airspace. The FAA's training program will raise awareness of flight restrictions while educating pilots on operational procedures and flight planning techniques to avoid airspace violations.
The FAA's program, as well as AOPA's outreach to pilots, is a more reasoned approach to addressing airspace incursions.
July 27, 2005 - Introduced. Referred to House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.