The FAA, Transportation Security Administration, and other security officials have decided to go ahead with a plan to relieve airports near the fringe of the Baltimore-Washington Air Defense Identification Zone. The plan is the result of an AOPA proposal submitted last March and repeated meetings by AOPA President Phil Boyer and members of AOPA's Government and Technical Affairs staff with the Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration, and White House Homeland Security Council.
The 60-day test, set to begin November 1, 2003, establishes ingress/egress procedures to two busy airports on Maryland's Eastern shore and egress-only procedures for another dozen.
"AOPA still believes that the ADIZ has outlived its intent and would prefer to see it lifted entirely," said Boyer. "But until that happens, this should make operations at the edges of the ADIZ a little less complicated."
The test procedures will allow aircraft operating into and out of Bay Bridge Airport (W29) and Kentmorr Airport (3W3) to fly directly to or from the airport without filing a flight plan or contacting air traffic control or receiving a discrete transponder code. The ingress/egress corridor will extend from 3 nm north of the Bay Bridge (Md. Rte. 50) to 5 nm south of the bridge, and from the edge of the ADIZ in the east to a point no farther west than the westernmost point of the Bay Bridge. Aircraft operating to or from Kentmorr may fly no farther west than a line drawn from the westernmost point of the Bay Bridge to Kent Fort Manor Airport. Aircraft flying to or from either airport are expected to take the most direct route and remain below the existing 3,500-foot and 4,500-foot Class B shelves.
The test procedures also allow aircraft to depart the following airports without first filing an ADIZ flight plan: Airlie, Albrecht, Harris, Martin, Martin State, Meadows, Mylander, Stewart, St. John, Tilghman Whipp, Upperville, and Wolf. Aircraft operating from those airports must squawk 1205 to broadcast their intention to depart the ADIZ. Once they've left the traffic pattern, pilots will be required to monitor the appropriate frequency for Potomac Consolidated Tracon but do not need to communicate with Potomac unless requested to do so by ATC. They will be expected to exit the ADIZ by the most direct route. Pilots' ability to consistently follow these rules, especially exiting by the most direct route, will be the main measure of success for the test.
Pilots flying to any of those dozen airports or transiting the ADIZ area are still required to follow existing ADIZ procedures (be on an active IFR or VFR flight plan, maintain two-way communication with ATC, and squawk an ATC-assigned discrete transponder code).
Any deviation by pilots from established procedures will trigger a military response.
"This is a very small step forward, but it's one of the first real breaks general aviation has gotten in the ADIZ area," said Boyer. "It's crucial that pilots follow the rules exactly so we can prove to doubting security officials that GA pilots are trustworthy."