May 18, 2005
The military's new visual warning system (VWS), designed to warn pilots who have strayed into restricted airspace in and around Washington, D.C., went live on Saturday, May 21. The new system enhances the security surrounding the nation's capital.
"The VWS is a way to quickly notify pilots who inadvertently stray into restricted airspace that won't cause panic in the cockpit or on the ground," said Andy Cebula, AOPA senior vice president of Government and Technical Affairs. "The system minimizes the need for airborne intercepts, which is safer for everyone."
The VWS is the latest in a growing array of defenses around Washington that include extensive and complex airspace restrictions, missile batteries, and improved surveillance. The laser signal, not harmful to the eye, consists of a sequence of red-red-green lights targeted at the aircraft in question. For pilots not in communication with air traffic control, the procedure is to immediately turn away from the signal and call ATC on the local frequency or on 121.5 MHz.
AOPA previously evaluated the system and found that it was bright enough to be seen, but not so bright as to be blinding or excessively distracting to pilots. The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) developed the ground-based laser system. It will only be used when the military personnel cannot visually identify the intended aircraft.
See the VWS notam and watch a brief video of the system in action.
Update: May 23, 2005
A state-of-the art medical facility on remote Tangier Island in the Chesapeake Bay serves as a lasting memorial to the late Dr. David B. Nichols’ dedication to providing medical care to the community for 30 years. Now, Nichols’ aviation legacy—flying a Cessna 182 or Robinson R44 to the island every Thursday to provide that care—is set in stone.
Daher-Socata announced that it had installed the first Garmin G600 and GTN 750 avionics in one of its 2004 TBM 700C2 airplanes.
Even brief flight under actual conditions can expose how well your basic instrument flying is serving.
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