The FAA has issued two notams and a special federal aviation regulation (SFAR) that will open three closed Washington, D.C.-area airports (College Park Airport [CGS], Potomac Airfield [VKX], and Washington Executive/Hyde Field [W32]) to operations by aircraft that were based on the airports on September 11. Pilots must complete a security background check and comply with special air traffic control procedures.
After a "procedural validation period," the FAA will consider allowing non-based transient aircraft to use these airports. AOPA understands that this test period will likely run 60 days.
In the SFAR, the FAA formally recognizes AOPA, the Maryland Department of Aviation, and the airport operators who participated in the development of the rule. AOPA is pleased to note that the direct participation of AOPA and other key organizations resulted in the FAA shelving more restrictive and cost-prohibitive alternatives. For example, the FAA considered requiring arriving aircraft to first land at "gateway airports" outside of the SFAR area for law enforcement inspections prior to proceeding to an affected airport. The FAA also considered requiring law enforcement inspection of aircraft departing from the three airports. After much discussion and negotiations, these alternatives were rejected in favor of more reasonable security procedures.