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Flight plans and the FRZFlight plans and the FRZ

Editor's note:  This article was updated March 29 with the release of the FAA's technical amendment and on April 4 to include an email address for preliminary filing of FRZ flight plans.

Flight in the Washington, D.C., Flight Restricted Zone (FRZ) is an extremely limited proposition for general aviation pilots, but starting March 29, those flights authorized will require filing special FRZ flight plans by phone before flight with a facility you don’t deal with when filing other kinds of flight plans.

The Maryland 3 refers to the following airports within the FRZ: College Park Airport (CGS), Potomac Airfield (VKX), and Washington Executive/Hyde Field (W32).

For those pilots who hold authorization to fly to and from the three GA airports in the FRZ, and to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport under the DCA Access Standard Security Program (DASSP), the following are the procedures for flight under instrument flight rules and visual flight rules. Note that DC FRZ flight plans will not be accepted online or from the air.

IFR in the FRZ

A pilot who plans to fly IFR into or out of an airport in the FRZ must call the Washington Air Route Traffic Control Center’s Flight Data Unit at 703-771-3476 prior to departure to file the IFR flight plan for the FRZ. Pilots may email the flight plan to the Flight Data Unit in advance, to save time, but they must still call, provide the proper pilot identification, and confirm the flight plan’s details. It is important to note that to receive weather information or notices to airmen, the pilot must contact Leidos Flight Service separately, using regular flight service contact methods, just as you would for a non-FRZ flight.

 VFR in the FRZ

If flying VFR into or out of an FRZ airport, the pilot must call the Washington Air Route Traffic Control Center’s Flight Data Unit at 703-771-3476 prior to departure to file the special DC FRZ flight plan. Pilots may email the flight plan to the Flight Data Unit in advance, to save time, but they must still call, provide the proper pilot identification, and confirm the flight plan’s details. It is important to note that if the pilot plans to file an optional VFR flight plan with flight service, or needs weather and notam information, this must be accomplished separately with Leidos Flight Service, just as you would for a non-FRZ flight.

 In either case, a pilot planning to fly in the FRZ must call 703-771-3476 to file the IFR or VFR FRZ flight plan. Pilots must identify themselves using their assigned waiver number and/or confidential pilot identification number. This procedure applies to all flights in and out of the FRZ, the Maryland Three Program airports, and GA operations under the DASSP.

To reflect the changes to the FRZ flight-plan filing method in regulatory language, the FAA has published a technical amendment that revises applicable sections of 14 CFR Part 93 by removing previous references to the Washington Hub FSS and the Washington, D.C., Special Flight Rules Area flight plan.

Pilots flying under VFR within 60 nautical miles of the DCA VOR/DME must have completed special awareness training for the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Area, even if they do not intend to enter the SFRA or the FRZ. Visit the FAA Safety website to learn more about these requirements.

Examples of ICAO format and domestic format FRZ flight plans pilots can email to the Washington Air Route Traffic Control Center's Flight Data Unit. Pilots must still call the Flight Data Unit to complete the flight-plan filing process. AOPA graphic.
Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz

Associate Editor Web
Associate Editor Web Dan Namowitz has been writing for AOPA in a variety of capacities since 1991. He has been a flight instructor since 1990 and is a 30-year AOPA member.
Topics: Advocacy, Special Use Airspace, FAA Information and Services

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