Wednesday's incursion into the restricted airspace around Washington, D.C., is a vivid reminder of why pilots must be vigilant about properly preparing for every flight. That includes maintaining a high level of proficiency, staying up-to-date on regulations and procedures, and thorough flight planning. AOPA and the AOPA Air Safety Foundation offer pilots a wide array of resources to help at all stages of preparation.
The newest AOPA Air Safety Foundation "Critical Airspace" Hot Spot brings together everything you need to know about airspace regulations and changes since the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. It features links to free online safety courses and quizzes that use an interactive format to keep you actively engaged in learning about airspace operations. Two courses deal specifically with the demands and intricacies of flying in today's airspace: "Mission: Possible - Navigating Today's Special-Use Airspace" and "Know Before You Go."
A multimedia presentation produced by AOPA explains the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) and the operations within it.
"Critical Airspace" includes a printable intercept procedures card that you can keep handy in your flight bag should you inadvertently stray into restricted airspace. Also in the new Hot Spot is a link to the freshly updated Airspace For Everyone Safety Advisor , which includes a card reminding pilots to check notams before flying and to steer clear of TFRs.
Articles from AOPA Pilot and AOPA Flight Training magazines, a Critical Airspace Safety Checkup, FAA publications, and links to related government Web sites also are available in the Air Safety Foundation Safety Hot Spot.
When you're ready to plan a specific flight, AOPA's Flight Planning page provides a four-step outline to flight planning to help you cover all of your bases. The section offers one-click access to AOPA's Real-Time Flight Planner, which graphically depicts TFRs; AOPA's Airport Directory Online, complete with airport diagrams; a notam page of anticipated and live TFRs; and graphical and textual weather data.
Navigating today's airspace is tricky with all of the pop-up TFRs, so AOPA stepped up to offer members three tools to use to avoid incursions. Real-Time Flight Planner, powered by Jeppesen, graphically depicts TFRs to allow you to easily plan your flights around restricted airspace. Anticipated and live TFRs are listed on AOPA's notam page, giving you access to the FAA notam, an AOPA plain-language version, and a graphical depiction. ePilot, the association's free weekly electronic newsletter, sends airspace bulletins to members, alerting them of security TFRs in their area. ( Sign up for ePilot to receive these alerts.)
Proper flight preparation can be a time-consuming task, but there's no excuse for sloppy or haphazard planning. Becoming acquainted with post September 11, 2001, airspace regulations can help you understand the importance of proper planning. And AOPA's tools can help you streamline and speed the process without cutting corners.
May 13, 2005