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March 18, 2003
Shortly after President Bush told the nation that war with Iraq is most likely, the Homeland Security Department raised the terrorist threat level to orange, or "high risk." And with that, the FAA and Transportation Security Administration have imposed new airspace restrictions over the New York City and Washington, D.C., areas, along with Disneyland and Disney World. Notams implementing the restrictions became effective today at 3 p.m.
"While AOPA and general aviation pilots are more than willing to do what's necessary to protect the nation from credible security threats, we're very concerned about 'ADIZ creep' and the operational problems they bring," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "An ADIZ can severely disrupt general aviation operations, affecting the businesses and transportation needs of thousands of people. Let's make sure the security threat is real and significant before once again shackling the lives and livelihoods of American citizens."
New York gets an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) within the Mode C veil (30-nm radius of Kennedy, Newark, and La Guardia airports), requiring pilots to file flight plans and "squawk and talk."
In California and Florida, pilots must avoid the areas within 3 nm and 3,000 feet of the Disneyland and Disney World theme parks.
And in the Washington, D.C., area, the flight plan requirement has been reinstated for operations within the Washington ADIZ, while approved, based-pilots flying to the "DC-3" airports (Hyde Field, Potomac, and College Park airports) must once again clear security at a gateway airport, this time Tipton Airport (FME).
Boyer noted the possibility of ADIZ-like restrictions being applied to other cities, citing both information from government sources and a Department of Homeland Security press release on Operation Liberty Shield, which states that "new temporary flight restrictions have been put into place over certain U.S. cities, including Washington D.C. and New York City. The FAA will continue to closely monitor air traffic in these and other key areas."
"ADIZs are uncharted territory for both pilots and the FAA," said Boyer. "As the Washington ADIZ has demonstrated, the FAA doesn't have the resources to adequately handle the additional load placed on the system. And pilots have a difficult time complying with rules and procedures that are made up and then changed on the fly."
For both New York and Washington, the ADIZ extends from the surface to 18,000 feet msl. In order to operate within either ADIZ, pilots must file a flight plan (IFR or VFR), obtain a discrete transponder code, and be in communications with air traffic control. Pilots must continue to squawk that discrete code until clear of the ADIZ or until the wheels touch the runway.
The New York ADIZ will affect 27 public-use facilities ( see list), including Essex County (CDW), Central Jersey Regional (47N), Republic (FRG), Westchester County (HPN), and Morristown (MMU). AOPA has compiled a list of contact telephone numbers and radio frequencies for pilots to obtain their clearances (if required) and discrete transponder codes for ADIZ operations.
AOPA has also created a checklist for ADIZ operations.
Pilots are encouraged to e-mail reports of any difficulties operating within the New York ADIZ to [email protected] and the Washington ADIZ to [email protected].
AOPA sends special AOPA ePilot alerts to warn pilots of airspace changes in their area. If you are not already receiving ePilot by e-mail, sign up here to ensure you get timely notification of significant airspace restrictions in your area.
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