Three down, 14 to go. The FAA on Friday eliminated the "permanent" national security-related temporary flight restriction (TFR) around the Red River Army Depot near Texarkana, Texas.
"We're beginning to see the payoff from months of hard behind-the-scenes work on Capitol Hill and at the Department of Defense (DoD), TSA, and FAA," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "We'll keep working to remove the others."
The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed an FAA reauthorization bill that includes AOPA-supported report language regarding security-related TFRs. Congress says it is concerned about the operational impact of post-9/11 DoD security TFRs and "encourages the FAA to work with DoD representatives, and all affected parties to evaluate the need for on-going DoD-requested TFRs."
In addition to raising concerns about the DoD security TFRS, the House and Senate versions of the reauthorization bill also tackle the air defense identification zone (ADIZ) around Washington, D.C. They both include language that would require the Department of Transportation to justify the continuing need for the ADIZ within 30 days of the bill's enactment, and every 60 days after that.
"The Washington ADIZ has a tremendous impact on aircraft operations throughout the Mid-Atlantic region," said Boyer. "It forces pilots to deviate around a huge volume of airspace or overload the area's air traffic control system. The FAA and Defense Department need to review the ADIZ on a regular basis to see if its national security benefits really outweigh the operational costs."
In addition to the Red River TFR, the FAA and the Department of Defense have in the past month and a half reviewed and eliminated TFRs around Whiteman Air Force Base, home of the U.S. B-2 bomber fleet, in Knob Noster, Mo., and around the crude oil loading facility in the harbor at Valdez, Alaska. Fourteen national security-related TFRs remain scattered across the country.