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VFR operations still prohibited, IFR OK with restrictionsVFR operations still prohibited, IFR OK with restrictions

On Monday morning, VFR operations are still prohibited in the United States, with the exception of Alaska. The FAA has also re-grounded Part 137 agricultural operations. General aviation (Part 91) IFR operations are permitted with restrictions. All flight plans must be from airport to airport. Clearances must be obtained on the ground. No air-files will be permitted, and cancellations must be made on the ground. Pilots should monitor the emergency frequency (121.5 MHz) and review intercept procedures. Pilots must review the latest notams.

"AOPA is in contact with federal authorities on all levels. They are telling us that there are still may be threats to our national security. And decisions about restoring VFR flight will be made ultimately at the highest levels of government, including the National Security Council," said AOPA President Phil Boyer.

"We know from phone calls and e-mails that many members remain stranded away from their families and businesses. We understand that flight schools and other aviation businesses are at risk of failure right now. AOPA has made sure that federal decision-makers understand these ramifications."

An AOPA team met with the FAA and Department of Defense officials this weekend to draft a plan to restore VFR operations. That plan is being revised today and will be presented to the top levels of the federal government late this afternoon. However, there is no guarantee that there will be a decision on VFR flight today.

In the meantime, it is absolutely imperative that general aviation pilots strictly adhere to all restrictions. Over this weekend, there were instances across the country where pilots ignored the notams and took off VFR. F-16 fighter jets intercepted these nonauthorized flights and forced them to land. [ Review intercept procedures.] And AOPA just received this report from a member:

"While flying to [Batavia] (I69) from Fairfield County, a short 35 min flight, I heard of two aircraft busting the regs flying VFR with transponders turned off. ATC was trying to track them and solicited help from nearby pilots to ID them. I hope incidents like these do not undo all of AOPA's hard work just to get GA IFR pilots back in the air."

AOPA President Boyer said, "National security officials are paying close attention to how general aviation behaves. IFR pilots must follow the rules exactly. VFR pilots must remain on the ground.

"If we want a full return to all flying privileges, pilots can't screw up now."

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