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AOPA works to 'free the GA 41,000'AOPA works to 'free the GA 41,000'

AOPA staff continued efforts through the weekend to "free the GA 41,000." That's the number of general aviation aircraft trapped inside enhanced Class B airspace and the Washington, D.C., and New York exclusionary zones. Those aircraft account for some 22 million flights per year. Although the aircraft could fly IFR (except in the Washington and New York areas), 90 percent of all GA flights are conducted VFR, and AOPA estimates that only 15 percent of GA pilots are current to fly IFR.

AOPA submitted a proposal to the FAA with criteria for phasing back in VFR operations within Class B airspace. The criteria included the possible threat to major population centers, possible security issues based on the population center's distance from the Class B airport, and the volume of traffic in the Class B airspace.

Based on that criteria, AOPA recommended a three-phase approach, with airspace like Denver (which is far away from the metropolitan area) opened first, and concluding with the airspace that affect national security the most, such as Washington and New York.

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