Reversing course in the middle of the night, the FAA has changed the effective date of the notam that will begin allowing some general aviation operations within an 18- to 25-nautical-mile radius of the DCA and JFK VORs. The changes now become effective at 12:01 a.m. ET October 6. That replaces a notam issued late last night that had made the changes effective immediately. "We asked the FAA for an explanation for our members, and they declined to comment on why," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. Many pilots within the affected area had already made arrangements to move their aircraft this morning.
Many members will have read in AOPA ePilot, which was e-mailed about 3 a.m. ET this morning, that the TFR changes were effective immediately. And that was the case when ePilot "went to press."
Here's what happened. AOPA's vice president of air traffic is stationed full-time at FAA headquarters and is in constant communication with air traffic officials. AOPA gets advance word of new notams and begins preparing information and guidance for members. However, AOPA does not publish that information until it becomes official. The FAA released the first notam (FDC 1/0980) at about 11 p.m. last night. That notam made the changes to the two TFRs effective immediately. AOPA immediately posted a story on its Web site explaining the notam and added the story to this week's edition of ePilot.
Then at 7:20 a.m. this morning, the FAA issued a new notam (FDC 1/0989) that set the effective date of the TFR changes for October 6 at 0401 UTC. (There are no date/time stamps on notams.) AOPA is preparing a special ePilot for pilots in the affected areas to alert them to the latest changes.
The notam, when it becomes effective tomorrow, reduces the size of the Washington and New York "no fly" zones. Changes were also made to the airspace and airports in the Boston area. There, the FAA increased restrictions on Part 91 IFR operations, while allowing a resumption of certain flight training operations.
The notam continues to prohibit Part 91 general aviation operations within 18 nm of the DCA or JFK VORs, surface to infinity, but allows certain Part 91 operations within the 18- to 25-nm radius of these VORs under the following restrictions:
The notam allows Part 91 operations in the Teterboro and Republic Class D airspace areas of New York City as if the airspace were in the 18- to 25-nm areas (i.e., Part 91 IFR and VFR flight training in single-engine piston aircraft under 4,000 pounds).
No Part 91 operations are allowed within 15 nm of the BOS Vortac from surface to infinity, except for the purpose of IFR arrival/departure at Boston (BOS) airport.
Some general aviation operations are permitted outside a 15-nm radius of the BOS Vortac to the extreme lateral limits of the enhanced Class B airspace. This includes the Beverly, Bedford, and Norwood Memorial Class D airspace. Part 91 general aviation operations are subject to the following restrictions:
Because of the changing nature of the FAA's airspace regulations, members are advised to continually check the AOPA Web site and notams for updates.