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Fri, Jul 09, 2004

FAA Denies DOD Prohibited Airspace Requests

Follows AOPA Recommendation For National Security Areas

The FAA has denied Department of Defense requests to turn 11 temporary flight restriction areas (TFRs) into prohibited airspace, the agency informed AOPA yesterday afternoon. Instead, the FAA will follow AOPA's recommendation and convert the existing TFRs over the 11 military installations into national security areas (NSAs), a less restrictive classification that still preserves the government's ability to protect the airspace when needed for national security.

"Since these TFRs were thrown up shortly after September 11, AOPA has consistently advocated that they be eliminated as unnecessary and an operational hindrance to legitimate general aviation activities," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Both AOPA staff and I have had countless meetings with the Defense Department, Department of Homeland Security, FAA, and members of Congress to quantify the impacts of these TFRs on pilots and to develop reasonable alternatives.

"An NSA, where pilots are requested to avoid flying too closely to sensitive areas, is a reasonable solution," said Boyer. "This is a tremendous victory for general aviation and common sense."

There are currently 13 TFRs over military installations. In two cases, Bangor, Washington, and St. Mary's, Georgia, the FAA has proposed creating permanent prohibited areas through notices of proposed rulemaking. AOPA is opposing both proposals.

The remaining TFRs will become NSAs upon the printing of new sectional charts depicting the areas. The first chart, depicting an NSA over Anniston, Alabama, will be published in September. The last national security area to be charted will appear on the Denver sectional in January. Until the charts are issued, the areas will remain TFRs and must be treated as such by pilots.

The specific TFRs are:

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

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