The Washington, D.C., ADIZ
with Flight Restricted Zone
Since the air defense identification zone (ADIZ) was established around Washington, D.C., in 2003, AOPA has dedicated its resources to providing education about the airspace and explaining why it is ill-conceived and poorly executed. Sending that message to the general public, media, and government decision makers is a large part of your association's education campaign.
An important way to accomplish that goal can also include media flights into the ADIZ. Jackie Kucinich, a reporter for The Hill , visited AOPA to experience firsthand what GA pilots go through each time they fly into, or depart from, the ADIZ. The Hill is a Washington, D.C., publication widely read by senators, congressmen, and thousands of other influential political leaders.
The short flight from AOPA's headquarters at Frederick Municipal Airport (FDK) in Frederick, Maryland, to Montgomery County Airpark (GAI) in Gaithersburg, Maryland, should be a 10-minute hop. Figure in the ADIZ, however, and it turns into a one-hour round-trip journey.
Kucinich saw up-close and very personally the complications that arise when flying in this part of the country. With Kathleen Roy, AOPA manager of media relations, in the left seat, your association's Archer departed its home base of FDK and, following proper procedures, attempted to contact Potomac Approach for a transponder code. The air traffic controllers initially identified the aircraft by the wrong tail number and until that was resolved, and until ATC had a transponder code for the aircraft, the flight had to remain clear of the ADIZ - resulting in a 15-minute delay (and an additional $10 in 100LL) as the aircraft circled outside of the restricted airspace. Once the confusion was cleared up, the flight proceeded to GAI.
On the ground at GAI, an airport within the ADIZ, the pilot contacted clearance delivery to receive another transponder code for the flight back to FDK. Prior to the ADIZ being implemented, a pilot could simply squawk 1200 and fly the same route VFR while avoiding the Class B airspace.
Kucinich said she was surprised that the landmarks defining the ADIZ boundary are not at all obvious from the air, and she expressed concern that a transient pilot not familiar with the area would have an especially difficult time identifying its "invisible" borders.
After the flight, Kucinich interviewed AOPA President Phil Boyer about the negative effects on GA as a result of the ADIZ, and the long-term effects if the ADIZ were to become permanent, as proposed in the FAA notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that AOPA opposes.
September 28, 2005