Inauguration prompts airspace restrictions

January 17, 2013

The already restrictive Washington, D.C., Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA), extending 30 nautical miles from the DCA VOR, will be more tightly controlled on Jan. 21 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time during the second inauguration of President Barack Obama.

AOPA issued an email alert to affected members and has updated an interactive map in conjunction with the Jan. 7 notam detailing flight rules and restrictions that will limit general aviation access during inaugural events. Part 91 flights on active IFR flight plans will be allowed to arrive and depart Washington Dulles International Airport, Baltimore Washington International Airport, and Manassas Regional Airport, but operations to or from other airports within the SFRA will be prohibited.

VFR operations will be prohibited entirely, including traffic pattern flights, during the duration of the TFR. Exclusions and modifications of the SFRA designed to ease access to a variety of airports will be suspended during the TFR.

A number of private aircraft are expected to take advantage of the narrow limits, particularly those bringing VIPs to Dulles. The Washington Post reports airport officials may close a runway at Dulles for parking, with a heavy influx of private aircraft expected.