By AOPA ePublishing staff
A violation of the heavily guarded airspace over the nation’s capital on March 5 underscores the need for pilots to review procedures and remain vigilant. Even a small incursion can result in national attention.
Although pilot deviations of the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) have been going down since Sep. 11, 2001, there has been an uptick over the past few months.
“Pilots need to realize that although there have been changes, the ADIZ has not gone away,” said AOPA President Phil Boyer.
The most recent incident occurred when the pilot of a Beechcraft King Air allegedly canceled IFR at 14,500 feet. Most likely the pilot was thinking he was above Class B airspace and clear of restricted airspace. The problem is, the ADIZ extends to 18,000 feet.
Other pilots have been flying practice instrument procedures, not realizing that certain waypoints may now fall within the ADIZ since it was reconfigured from a Mickey Mouse shape to a slightly smaller circle last year. Pilots flying to and from Virginia’s Leesburg Executive Airport have also contributed to a sizable share of the violations, although a well-coordinated pilot education campaign is under way to curb the problem.
“Obviously, with the change in shape of the ADIZ, pilots need to re-educate themselves about the restrictions and procedures,” said Heidi Williams, AOPA director of air traffic services. “We urge pilots to take advantage of all of our helpful online resources.”
For more information, including links to the FAA’s ADIZ online course and operating procedures at Leesburg airport, see our ADIZ resources.
March 6, 2008