All general aviation in the greater Baltimore-Washington area will be grounded this evening during President Bush's State of the Union address. The no-fly area will include the entire 3,000-square-mile footprint of the Class B airspace and the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ). The TFR will be in effect from 7 to 11 p.m.
"Let's not make any mistakes," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "The last thing GA needs now would be the needless evacuation of the Capitol on live national TV."
This broad TFR for the State of the Union has been standard operating procedure since 9/11. "And while we understand the perceived need to tighten security when top officials of all three branches of the federal government are collected in House chambers to listen to the President, we wonder what kind of corresponding restrictions will be implemented on surface transportation, which can get very close to the Capitol with much greater payload than a Cessna 172," said Boyer.
The TFR will not stop much larger airliners from flying into Ronald Reagan Washington National (DCA) Airport, just 2.5 nm from the Capitol building.
IFR general aviation flights to Washington Dulles International (IAD) and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall (BWI) airports may be allowed.
But no flights will be permitted to or from any of the 21 other airports inside the ADIZ. That includes the "fringe" airports, Bay Bridge (W29) and Kentmorr Airpark (3W3), and the DC-3 airports - College Park Airport (CGS), Potomac Airfield (VKX), and Washington Executive/Hyde Field (W32) - which normally have special ingress/egress procedures.
Updated: January 31, 2006, 6 a.m. EST