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Threat level raised to orange, but no airspace changes for most of countryThreat level raised to orange, but no airspace changes for most of country

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has raised the national threat level to Level Orange (high), but except for the Washington, D.C., area, no new airspace restrictions are likely.

The FAA has issued notams reestablishing Tipton Airport as the "gateway airport" for aircraft flying to the "DC-3" airports in Maryland (College Park, Hyde, and Potomac airports) and suspending waivers for flight in the 15-mile "no fly" area around Washington, D.C. In addition, waivers to the sporting event notam 3/1862 will also be suspended. Those notams become effective at 10 a.m. EDT today, May 21.

"AOPA has worked hard over the preceding weeks to make sure that general aviation is well understood by the decision makers," said AOPA Senior Vice President of Government and Technical Affairs Andrew Cebula. "In addition to discussions with TSA and the FAA, AOPA has met with officials from Department of Homeland Security and Defense Department, as well as members of Congress, to ensure that general aviation is recognized as an important part of the air transportation system and that security procedures are not adversely effecting pilots."

Pilots are again urged to be vigilant and report any suspicious activities at their airports to Airport Watch—866/GA-SECURE.

DHS Secretary Tom Ridge said the alert comes in response to terrorist bombings in Saudi Arabia and Morocco and the belief that Al Qaida has entered an operational period worldwide. This may include attacks in the United States.

AOPA will post any security-related notams as soon as they become available. Pilots who have signed up for AOPA's ePilot newsletter will receive special e-mail alerts of security notams affecting flight in their area.


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