AOPA is urging pilots to exercise extreme caution when inaugural events get under way in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, January 20. Not since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks has the nation's capital seen this level of security. President Bush's inauguration has been declared a "national security event."
"The GA community understands the need for reasonable security measures around the inauguration. What we don't understand is why the measures being taken for this inauguration are so extreme," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "All the evidence shows that GA aircraft do not pose a significant security threat — especially when compared to the devastation an airliner could cause."
The FAA has on Friday issued a notam prohibiting, for an 8-hour period, all VFR general aviation flight within or above the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ). To provide further guidance to pilots, the FAA also issued a flight advisory, while the Transportation Security Administration issued a security advisory about securing aircraft and spotting suspicious people on the ground.
The GA ban is in effect from 10 a.m. through 6 p.m. on inauguration day. The only exception is for IFR aircraft landing or departing Washington Dulles International and Baltimore-Washington International airports, but the FAA anticipates that the GA ramps at both airports will fill up with VIP aircraft. Once all the parking is taken, even IFR aircraft will be diverted to airports outside the ADIZ.
January 14, 2005