As AOPA has been hearing for months, federal officials are continuing to discuss changes to the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), including the possibility of replacing it with something slightly smaller. The latest scenario comes from some comments made by FAA managers from the Potomac Tracon at a local pilot seminar on April 7.
This option would create a 30-nautical-mile-radius circle around the Ronald Reagan Washington National (DCA) Vortac instead of the "Mickey Mouse-shaped" ADIZ. While this rumored change would only represent a partial reduction in the ADIZ airspace, it would remove four Maryland airports (Essex Skypark, Martin State, Bay Bridge, and Kentmorr) from the ADIZ. It would also permit less restrictive procedures at Leesburg and Manassas airports in Virginia. The existing Flight Restricted Zone (no-fly area) over the heart of the city would remain largely the same.
"This particular scenario was given by the FAA to pilots and matches some of the other intelligence my staff has been reporting," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "We are concerned because the rumored solution would continue to place requirements on nearly 1,700 based aircraft and 15 public-use airports."
AOPA continues to maintain close contact with the FAA, Transportation Security Administration, and the Department of Defense, just a few of the many agencies involved in the ADIZ decision making.
The FAA is in the midst of a rulemaking process, which will define any airspace rules and regulations for the nation's capital. The agency is still reviewing roughly 22,000 member comments on that proposal and has until July to make a final decision. Further rumors indicate that the date could be extended.
Updated: April 12, 2007, 9:42 a.m. EDT