AOPA is pressing Congress for several initiatives that would help general aviation pilots get timely and understandable information on airspace restrictions. As Congress works on next year's funding for the FAA and the Department of Transportation, AOPA is asking Congress to hold FAA accountable to its promise (from over a year ago) to provide pilots with graphical advisories for temporary flight restrictions (TFRs).
Specifically, AOPA is asking that Congress direct the FAA to make graphical TFRs and notices to airmen (notams) available to the flying public immediately via the Internet. AOPA also wants the graphical TFRs to be made available via the FAA's Direct User Access Terminal (DUAT) system.
AOPA President Phil Boyer, in a letter to a key congressional committee chairman, asked, "During a period of time when pilots are subject to multiple airspace restrictions, how can the FAA fail past instruction by Congress to provide airmen with graphical TFRs?"
Congress previously directed the FAA to publish graphical TFRs in an earlier omnibus spending bill, but the FAA failed to act. The FAA has been promising readily available TFR maps for some time. Last October, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey told an AOPA Expo audience, "You need a good picture. You're going to get it." AOPA is now asking Congress to hold the FAA's feet to the fire.
AOPA is also asking Congress to direct closer coordination between the FAA and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in developing security-related airspace restrictions.
"This coordination will serve to prevent a proliferation of politically driven, non-security-related airspace restrictions and ensure the appropriate analysis of intelligence and security issues are performed," said Boyer. "AOPA wants to see a requirement that all security TFRs or airspace restrictions be coordinated through TSA."
A better FAA process for proper coordination of security TFRs and graphical TFR dissemination via the Internet are two common-sense solutions to the new security challenges facing pilots—and long overdue.