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Government warns of aviation threat to nuclear plantsGovernment warns of aviation threat to nuclear plants

AOPA urges pilots to fly clear of sensitive facilitiesAOPA urges pilots to fly clear of sensitive facilities

Security officials have stepped up warnings of a potential new terrorist attack on the United States. Terrorists might try to crash a hijacked commercial airliner into a nuclear power plant, according to intelligence reports. Dams and water and sewage treatment plants are also apparent targets.

"With our nation in this heightened state of alert, once again pilots must take care not to contribute to public fears," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Stay away from nuclear power plants, dams, and other sensitive sites."

Although federal authorities have told AOPA there are currently no plans to reinstate the "nuclear notam," any "suspicious" flight near one of these facilities might prompt security officials to push for more restrictions.

"Low, slow overflights, circling or loitering, might threaten the freedom we've fought so hard for, the restoration of general aviation flight throughout the nation," said Boyer.

Last November, the "nuclear notam" (which established a 10-nautical-mile/18,000-feet "no fly" zone around nuclear power plants) closed more than 700 airports to general aviation aircraft and grounded thousands of aircraft.

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