Pilots flying to and from the AOPA Fly-In and Open House on June 7 got the message about the expanded P-40 prohibited area over Camp David, Md., receiving no violations as the show was winding down Saturday evening.
“We asked our members for zero violations, and we got it,” said AOPA President Phil Boyer. “With great flying weather, more than 500 airplanes attended the show. Despite being squeezed into a smaller airspace between the expanded P-40 and the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone, the pilots of these aircraft heeded our warnings and steered clear.”
AOPA took unprecedented steps to ensure anyone coming to the show by air was aware of the expanded restricted area and ways to avoid it. Information was posted on AOPA Online, and multiple e-mails were sent to every member east of the Mississippi River for whom AOPA had an address. In addition, information for posting and distribution to local pilots was sent to every FBO and flight school in the same area. Warnings were added to the automated weather broadcasts that pilots listened to as they prepared to land at or depart from Frederick Municipal Airport.
AOPA worked closely with the FAA and security agencies to make sure pilots got the right message. “They clearly understood the potential for violations with so many aircraft flying near unfamiliar restricted airspace and were just as committed to preventing incursions,” said Boyer.
In addition, AOPA had enlisted the help of the Civil Air Patrol to make sure pilots were aware of the restrictions. CAP National Headquarters had asked squadrons east of the Mississippi River to station members at airports on Saturday morning and ensure that pilots headed to the Washington, D.C., area were aware of the expanded P-40 area.
While aircraft attending the fly-in were violation-free, there was some excitement when an aircraft headed for Hagerstown, Md., violated both the ADIZ and the P-40 airspace.
“We challenged pilots coming to the fly-in to show the FAA and the security folks just how conscientious pilots really are,” said Boyer. “We said if they delivered on that challenge—no incursion violations—we’d donate $5,000 to the Civil Air Patrol to thank them for their assistance in this effort. This is money I’m GLAD to give away.”