AOPA is asking the FAA to reduce the size of presidential temporary flight restriction areas. In a letter to FAA Administrator Marion Blakey, AOPA President Phil Boyer expressed concern over the proliferation of airspace restrictions impacting general aviation. He specifically mentioned the new 10-nautical-mile TFR around Camp David in Maryland, which is effective over the weekend.
"The TFR closes Frederick's (FDK) ILS system to all practice approaches and student traffic," Boyer told Blakey. "Frederick is the second busiest airport in the state. It is a magnet for business aviation and student training, and it is home to a large soaring club. TFRs like this one impact general aviation flying and flight training, air charter operations, and airport businesses."
AOPA has also learned that the Camp David TFR might be expanded to a 30-nm radius, similar to TFRs around President Bush's retreats in Texas and Maine. "What has changed in the nation's threat profile to drive these new airspace restrictions?" Boyer asked. "The five-mile Camp David TFR has proven adequate for more than a year, even during the time of the 'Code Orange' elevated security alert."
Boyer noted that pilots in the Washington, D.C., area continue to suffer under the most significant post-9/11 airspace restrictions in the country. Many have been forced to relocate due to the Washington special flight rule 94, and general aviation has lost access to four airports in the area.
He also expressed concern that pilots would inadvertently violate the expanded Camp David TFR because "the notam system does a poor job of disseminating flight restriction information, and as you saw firsthand just weeks ago at AOPA's Expo in Palm Springs, the notam system does not provide any graphical depiction of the airspace to assist pilots.
"Marion, I urge you to take action to educate the Secret Service about the effects that TFRs have on aviation. I also implore you to restore the airspace around Camp David and limit the TFR to the five-mile radius."