AOPA on Friday questioned a decision by the FAA and Transportation Security Administration to strengthen a leftover, unnecessary relic of the tense days immediately after the September 11 attacks, rather than eliminate it all together.
The FAA published notams (3/3541 and 3/3542) that yank a blanket waiver for VFR flights between the United States and Canada and forces pilots to apply for individual waivers.
"This is ridiculous," said Melissa Bailey, AOPA's vice president of airspace, regulatory and certification policy. "VFR flights between the United States and Canada are already tightly controlled by other agencies within the Department Homeland Security."
Bailey continued, "VFR aircraft crossing the border are required to be on a flight plan and must go through Customs and Immigration. Why in the world do they also need a waiver? The VFR restriction is left over from right after the terrorist attacks, and it is no longer necessary. It should be eliminated, not strengthened."
AOPA is pressing the TSA to eliminate the waiver requirement. In the meantime, pilots who need individual waivers must apply to TSA no later than May 31, 2003. The application form for individual waivers is available from the FAA's Web site. The completed form must be faxed to TSA at 571/227-2234 or 571/227-2245. It may not be submitted online.