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'No fly' zone over Washington, D.C., tonight'No fly' zone over Washington, D.C., tonight

<BR><SPAN class=twodeck>Customs aircraft on patrol</SPAN><BR><SPAN class=twodeck>Customs aircraft on patrol</SPAN>

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A "no fly" zone will surround Washington, D.C., tonight during President Bush's State of the Union address. The temporary flight restriction area bans all general aviation flight, both VFR and IFR, within 30 nm of the Washington (DCA) VOR between 8 and 11 p.m. That effectively closes many area airports including Montgomery County (GAI), Leesburg (JYO), Dulles (IAD), Manassas (HEF), Lee (ANP), Tipton (FME), Suburban (W18), Freeway (W00), College Park (CGS), Washington Executive (W32), Baltimore (BWI), and Potomac (VKX).

In addition, Customs Service aircraft are now patrolling the Washington, D.C., area. The Blackhawk helicopters and Cessna Citation jets have previously been used to track drug runners and, according to Customs officials, are better suited to tracking small aircraft that might enter the restricted airspace around the nation's capital.

Pilots are again warned that the TFR will be strictly monitored. As one senior security official told AOPA last week, "No pilot wants to make the mistake of violating this TFR."

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