As most pilots now clearly understand, the FAA establishes temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) throughout the country to protect President Bush and Vice President Cheney when they are traveling or staying at locations outside of Washington, D.C. The TFRs usually apply to small geographic areas and last for brief periods of time. Although the practice predates the events of September 11, FAA and military enforcement of these TFRs is now much more intense, and new, non-standard requirements have been added. For example, during Vice President Cheney's Christmas stay in Jackson, Wyoming, all aircraft within 50 miles were required to obtain discrete transponder codes. Military fighter aircraft intercepted several VFR aircraft that squawked 1200 instead of an assigned code.
Two specific TFR areas that change frequently and should be closely monitored by pilots are P-49, the prohibited area over the Crawford ranch in Texas [ see graphic], and P-40, which overlies Camp David in Maryland [ see graphic]. The actual size of the prohibited area can be larger at times than what is depicted on printed aeronautical charts. Unfortunately, numerous recent incursions in both of these prohibited areas are raising FAA and national security community concerns and could compromise the rights enjoyed by the entire general aviation community. AOPA reminds pilots to obtain current notams before every flight, even local flights. Pilots who violate these TFRs can expect to face certificate revocation as well as civil penalties.