Pilots need to curb Leesburg Maneuvering Area violations

November 18, 2010

With procedural violations in the Leesburg Maneuvering Area trending abruptly higher during September and October, AOPA and the FAA are reminding pilots that failure to adhere to prescribed procedures could result in suspension of operations in the airspace around Virginia’s Leesburg Executive Airport (JYO).

AOPA is urging all pilots who fly to or from Leesburg to immediately review the published procedures, maintain their in-flight situational awareness, and help by making sure that their fellow pilots have been made aware of the problem.

Pilots should also note that that since Nov. 5 there has been an additional requirement to report termination of traffic pattern operations in the Washington, D.C., Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA) by telephone.

The notice to airmen specifies flight plan, communications, and operating procedures for flight within the Leesburg Maneuvering Area. Its requirement to use prescribed transponder codes for ingress to, and egress from Leesburg Executive has been the source of numerous violations—the majority by locally based aircraft, said the FAA. 

“The inter-agency community has noted that the trend for LMA [Leesburg Maneuvering Area] violations in September and October is almost double from the normal numbers for JYO in a given month. The majority of the violations involve squawking 1200 in the LMA or entering/exiting the LMA through the SFRA and not within the confines of the LMA boundaries,” the FAA said.

The FAA added, “Pilots should be aware that if the trend in violations continues that the possibility of eliminating the LMA procedures entirely is a very real possibility. The FAA would prefer to find other solutions and promises to work with flyers to keep the procedures in place. However, the entire aviation community in the area needs to be committed to reversing this troubling trend.”

The Leesburg Executive Airport Commission’s Operations Committee is drafting a plan to meet with tenant businesses and based-aircraft owners to re-educate them on the requirements. “The maneuvering area, unique to this airport, is critical to the business success of our tenant flight schools, and a major convenience to our based pilots,” said Dennis Boykin, chairman of the commission. “We’ve put up signs on the runup areas, we’ll put up more posters in the terminal, and we’ll reach out to every pilot in the community.”

In addition to the notam, another resource for pilots reviewing Leesburg Maneuvering Area procedures is this JYO Maneuvering Area Checklist, said Brittney Miculka, AOPA manager of security and borders. Pilots should also be sure to comply with the requirement to complete the FAA’s required course for all pilots who will fly within 60 nautical miles of the DCA VOR, she said. (Click here to enroll in the course.)

“The FAA is an advocate on this issue and has appealed for AOPA’s help in stressing the importance of this issue to pilots,” Miculka said.

Egress procedures for the LMA:

  1.   File a DC SFRA flight plan
  2. Aircraft shall squawk transponder code 1226
  3. Pilots departing JYO shall activate their DC SFRA flight plan by announcing the aircraft call sign, aircraft type, and intended departure runway on the published CTAF prior to departure.
  4. Pilots shall exit the DC SFRA via the most direct lateral route through the Leesburg Maneuvering Area.
  5. The DC SFRA flight plan will be considered closed when the aircraft has exited the DC SFRA.
  6. Pilots need not communicate with Potomac TRACON (PCT) unless otherwise directed.

Ingress procedures for the LMA:

  1. File a DC SFRA flight plan.
  2. Aircraft shall squawk transponder code 1227 prior to entering the DC SFRA to indicate the pilot's intent to enter the DC SFRA and land at JYO.
  3. Before entering the DC SFRA, pilots shall activate the DC SFRA flight plan by announcing the aircraft call sign, aircraft type, and runway of intended landing on the published CTAF.
  4. Pilots shall enter the DC SFRA via the most direct lateral route through the Leesburg Maneuvering Area.
  5.  The DC SFRA flight plan will be considered closed when the aircraft has landed at JYO.
  6. Pilots need not communicate with Potomac TRACON (PCT) unless otherwise directed.

Traffic pattern operations at JYO
Traffic pattern procedures:

  1. File a DC SFRA flight plan.
  2. Obtain and squawk the assigned transponder code from Potomac TRACON (PCT). They can be reached thru the RCO on 118.55.
  3. Establish and maintain two-way radio communications with Potomac TRACON (PCT) before entering and while operating in the DC SFRA
  4. Obtain ATC authorization to perform practice approaches from Potomac TRACON (PCT); authorizations will be workload permitting.
  5. Report termination of traffic pattern operations by telephone or via RCO on 118.55 if the phone is not available.
Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz | Aviation Writer

Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.