ADIZ training requirement fraught with problems, AOPA says

August 14, 2008

Any pilot who flies VFR within 60 nautical miles of the Washington, D.C., VOR/DME must complete the FAA’s one-time special awareness training online course or seminar by Feb. 9, 2009. The FAA’s mandate for training stems from an effort to reduce the number of Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) incursions.

“AOPA is extremely disappointed that the FAA is requiring pilots who won’t be flying in the ADIZ to take the training,” said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. “The FAA’s mandate sets up an enforcement trap for pilots who aren’t from the D.C. area but who will be passing through or landing within the 60-nm veil.”

AOPA had requested that the FAA minimize the awareness training area from the initial 100-nm proposal to only pilots who would be flying as PIC on VFR flights within the ADIZ.

The FAA decided to make the awareness training area coincide with the 60-nm speed ring surrounding the ADIZ. The area actually extends 30 nm beyond the ADIZ. While the training area does not yet appear on sectional charts, the FAA has said that it will chart the airspace, along with a notation explaining that the training is needed to fly in that area.

Pilots can complete the training by taking a one-and-a-half-hour online course ("Navigating the New DC ADIZ"). Those who have already taken the course do not need to complete it again. Please note that an earlier version of the course was under a different title, "Navigating the DC ADIZ, TFRs, and Special Use Airspace," which will suffice for completion.

Pilots must keep proof that they’ve taken the course. A certificate of completion can be printed online for recordkeeping purposes.

The pilot will not need to carry the certificate in the aircraft but must be able to produce it within a reasonable amount of time if asked by a local law enforcement officer, FAA inspector, or Transportation Security Administration agent.

Pilots also could complete the training by attending an FAA Safety Program seminar offered by local flight standards district offices (FSDOs).

AOPA had pushed to exempt pilots flying IFR who cancel to land VFR and pilots who operate from the Flight Restricted Zone in the heart of the ADIZ. Pilots who operate in the FRZ have already completed special training and passed background checks. However, the FAA still requires that these pilots receive the training.