The FAA today took the somewhat unusual step of talking to the press about the New York and Washington air defense identification zones (ADIZ). While the FAA's intent was to "get the word out to pilots" about the existence of the ADIZs, the unfortunate "spin" in the press will be on the number of pilot incursions.
AOPA reminds pilots that they must obtain notams prior to every flight and that they must understand and follow ADIZ procedures. The association has prepared a checklist on ADIZ operations.
But in interviews with the press, AOPA also criticized the failings of the notification system and the operational procedures within the ADIZs.
AOPA spokesman Warren Morningstar called the notam system "creaky, based on ancient technology. Pilots don't always get the information they need in a readily understandable form."
He also noted the frustration of many pilots over a system unable to handle the number of aircraft trying to fly within the ADIZ. He pointed out that on good flying days, pilots have waited for 45 minutes or more to get a clearance, and that ATC has sometimes run out of transponder codes, meaning no more aircraft are allowed to fly.
Four weeks ago, AOPA proposed four specific steps to reduce the operational problems with the ADIZs while still maintaining security. While the government has implemented a limited form of one of AOPA's proposals (one transponder code for flight pattern operations at towered airports), it has not acted on any of the other suggestions.