Due to bad weather in the New York and Washington, D.C., areas this past weekend, the FAA was unable conduct a satisfactory test of an AOPA suggestion that would simplify flight training and air traffic control workload.
So late this afternoon, the agency issued two notams allowing pilots operating at all towered airports in the Washington, D.C., and New York City air defense identification zones (ADIZ) to use a discrete transponder code, 1234, for closed traffic pattern operations without filing a flight plan. The new test period runs from 0600 local on Tuesday, April 1, until 2100 local on Sunday, April 6.
The notams are the direct result of a successful FAA test that occurred during this past weekend at three towered airports each in the Washington and New York ADIZ areas, using AOPA's suggestion of a discrete squawk code.
AOPA and the FAA had hoped to permit use of the 1234 code at both towered and nontowered airports in the ADIZ areas, but the Department of Defense and U.S. Customs Service, which are responsible for patrolling the areas, balked at the idea of operations at nontowered airports. "While this is better than nothing, we still need better operational procedures on a broader scale," said AOPA Senior Vice President of Government and Technical Affairs Andy Cebula.
Under the new notams, closed pattern operations at towered airports within the ADIZ will not require a flight plan. Pilots will make their request for closed pattern work prior to taxiing and will squawk 1234 continuously.
Pilots are reminded that prior to exiting the traffic pattern and conducting other flight operations within the ADIZ, a flight plan must be filed with an AFSS, pilots must obtain and continuously transmit an ATC-assigned discrete transponder code, and two-way communications must be established prior to ADIZ penetration. See AOPA's checklist for ADIZ operations for additional ADIZ information.