Would Require VFR Pilots To Take Online Course
At first, it sounds like a good idea -- one that both pilots and
the FAA can agree on. After all... given that all but one incursion
into the Washington DC ADIZ has been purely unintentional...
expanded training on how to fly around the Washington DC ADIZ is
almost a necessity, right?
Having said that... should ANY VFR pilot who flies within 100
miles of the DCA VORTAC -- the center of the Air Defense
Identification Zone -- be required to take specialized training?
The FAA says yes.
"This proposed rule would require special awareness training for
any person who flies under visual flight rules (VFR) within 100
nautical miles of the Washington, DC VHF omnidirectional
range/distance measuring equipment (DCA VOR/DME)," the FAA writes
in its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) issued Wednesday.
The NPRM goes onto say that the training is already available on
the FAA website... with its primary focus on procedures for flying
in and around the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area Defense
Identification Zone (ADIZ) and the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area
Flight Restricted Zone (FRZ).
"The intended effect of
this proposed rule is to reduce the number of unauthorized flights
into the airspace of the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area ADIZ and
FRZ through education of the pilot community," the NPRM states.
The NPRM was met with harsh reaction from the Aircraft Owners
and Pilots Association.
"The FAA wants a de facto expansion of the ADIZ," said Andy
Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. "That
could very well lead to more enforcement actions against pilots who
have not actually violated the ADIZ."
Cebula notes the NPRM, if enacted, would effectively expand the
ADIZ to engulf a total of 117 airports.
The AOPA cites the following examples: under the new rule, a
pilot flying from Northeast Philadelphia (PNE) to Cape May, NJ
(WWD), would have to have ADIZ training -- even though he'll be 60
nm outside the ADIZ at the closest point. A flight from Raleigh, NC
(RDU), to Richmond, VA (RIC) -- a point 55 miles from the ADIZ --
would also require the training.
"Would a pilot in
either case reasonably expect that he would have to be concerned
about the ADIZ?" asked Cebula. "And the FAA is not planning on
marking the 'training ring' on any charts. It's a 'gotcha' waiting
Another "gotcha," according to AOPA, is pilots flying on IFR
flight plans. Under the NPRM, they wouldn't have to take the online
training course... but if they're flying within 100 miles of ADIZ
center, they would then have to stay IFR -- even if weather
conditions at the destination would normally allow a pilot to
cancel IFR to expedite his arrival.
"AOPA still believes that the ADIZ, as presently configured, is
an unnecessary burden on law-abiding general aviation pilots whose
relatively slow-moving, small aircraft do not represent a
significant threat to Washington, DC," said Cebula.
"That said, training to improve pilot awareness of ADIZ
operations is clearly the preferable action. AOPA supports
training, but we can't support the FAA's proposed implementation of
the training requirement."