April 6, 2005
Many pilots attending AOPA's Fly-In and Open House are getting down to business. They had signed up in advance to complete part of the personal identification (PIN) process required to fly into the "DC-3 airports" - College Park Airport, Potomac Airfield, and Washington Executive/Hyde Field.
Unlike other airports that are open to and welcome transient general aviation pilots, the DC-3 airports were closed to all but based aircraft after the events of September 11, 2001. Transient pilots have only been able to fly into the DC-3 airports since February of this year, and only after they have completed a time-consuming initial security review and been issued a PIN that requires multiple trips to the airport they want to use, a trip to their FSDO, and a trip to Ronald Reagan Washington National (DCA).
One member, George Fogwell, was planning to complete the PIN process by making the multiple trips but jumped at the chance to save time by going through part of it at Fly-In. After completing part of the process at Fly-In, the only driving these pilots will have to do is to DCA to be fingerprinted.
"I think it's a great idea because it saves you time," said Jim Fortune while waiting to verify his identification documents. "It's the primary reason I came today." Fortune regularly flew into DCA and the DC-3 airports before September 11, 2001.
Warren Paul echoed the same sentiment: "If it hadn't been for this, I wouldn't have done it [the PIN process]."
AOPA teamed with the Transportation Security Administration, Baltimore Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), and the DC-3 airports to offer this consolidated process at Fly-In. Pilots will have their government identification documents reviewed by the Baltimore FSDO and participate in a live flight restricted zone briefing. Two of the trips to the Washington, D.C., area will be eliminated.
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AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.