AOPA hopes so. The event will highlight a great year in which pilots have participated in regional fly-in events that brought AOPA and members closer together in the effort to keep general aviation strong.
Flying to any new destination requires reviewing general procedures and destination-specific requirements. When you research flight in the vicinity of Washington, D.C.’s airspace, it becomes clear that special rules and preflight preparation apply. And because a high volume of traffic can be expected for the fly-in, special arrival and departure procedures have been prepared—including procedures to follow depending on which Frederick runway is in use.
To help you prepare, here are some tips for flying to Frederick, along with resources to help you arrive and depart smoothly and safely.
Before flying under VFR within 60 nautical miles of the Washington VOR/DME (DCA), pilots must successfully complete special awareness training by taking the Washington, D.C., Special Flight Rules Area online course. This requirement includes flights to Frederick, which is located about seven miles northwest of the Washington, D.C., SFRA.
Next, familiarize yourself with the prohibited area, P-40, and the overlying restricted area R-4009 associated with Camp David, north of Frederick. They are depicted on the Baltimore-Washington Terminal Area Chart and Washington, D.C., Sectional Chart. Note that the prohibited airspace is sometimes expanded on short notice. Check notams frequently on its status.
AOPA has produced a 34-page AOPA Homecoming Fly-In Pilot Information Packet that sets forth arrival and departure procedures and other operations specific to the fly-in, including the location and direction of VFR holding patterns, visual checkpoints that define them, and after-landing procedures. (Please exit the runway as quickly and safely as possible.)
Flying the precise ground tracks designated in the packet is vital for safety and efficiency. See Page 5 of the packet for other cautions about flight in the area.
Inbound VFR flights requesting traffic advisories should contact Potomac Approach Control well before arriving at the Westminster (EMI) or Martinsburg (MRB) VORs, the navaids to which aircraft will be funneled for arrival. Remain alert for converging traffic over navaids and when entering the traffic pattern. Know your ATC-assigned sequence.
As always, good preparation is key to a good flight. On arrival, the rewards in fun, food, and friendship will be many for those who come home to Frederick.
Before flying in to AOPA's Homecoming on Oct. 4, reserve your free lunch ticket online. AOPA has lined up more than a dozen food trucks that will be offering everything from sandwiches to vegetarian options.