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Fri, Feb 27, 2004

Navy Makes Airspace Grab: Wants 'Permanent TFR' Turned Into Prohibited Area

At the US Navy's insistence, the FAA on Thursday formally proposed turning the DoD TFR over the Kings Bay Naval Base in Georgia into prohibited airspace. 

"This is a general aviation pilot's worst nightmare and has questionable security benefits," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "The Pentagon is dictating national airspace policy. And it could get worse. AOPA has learned that the DoD has already submitted requests to turn the remaining permanent TFRs into prohibited areas."

The existing TFR has severely impacted operations at St. Marys Airport (4J6) in nearby St. Marys, Ga. Originally, the TFR covered the airport, prohibiting all operations. The size of the TFR was subsequently reduced so that operations could resume, but the location of the TFR caused cancellation of the only instrument approach procedure into the airport.

The proposed prohibited area will have a 2 n.m. radius up to but not including 3,000' MSL, centered on 30-degrees, 48-minutes North, 81-degrees, 31-minutes West. The FAA is accepting comments on the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) until April 12, 2004.

"The FAA and, more importantly, the Department of Defense need to hear from the people affected by this change - general aviation pilots," said Boyer.

"AOPA urges pilots to file formal comments."

Pilots may file comments online dms.dot.gov by clicking on "Simple Search" and entering docket number 15976.

Written comments should be mailed to: Docket Management System, U.S. Department of Transportation, Room Plaza 401, 400 Seventh St. SW, Washington D.C., 20590-0001. Make sure to include the full docket identification (FAA-2003-15976/Airspace Docket No. 03-AWA-5) at the beginning of written comments.

"Not long ago, I half-jokingly suggested we start calling these post-9/11 TFRs over military bases 'PFRs,' or permanent flight restrictions because they'd been around so long," said Boyer. "Now the Pentagon is planning to turn that joke into reality."

FMI: www.faa.gov, www.aopa.org, www.navy.mil

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