General aviation industry representatives accept the inevitability of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) flying in civil airspace, though they urge a go-safely approach to introducing robotic aircraft. “[AOPA is] certainly an advocate of new aircraft entering the airspace system. It’s a matter of doing that safely.
The FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, N.J., forged a cooperative research and development agreement with Bingen, Wash.-based Insitu and the New Jersey Air National Guard to study unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and to address their integration into the National Airspace System (NAS).
Despite heavy opposition by pilots and aviation alphabet groups, airspace restrictions and procedures implemented around Washington, D.C., after 9/11–namely the 15-nm-radius Flight Restricted Zone (FRZ) and 30-nm-radius Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA), both centered at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)–were made permanent under a final rule issued yesterday by the FAA.
Frontier Airlines grounded one of its captains and first officers after they inadvertently flew their Boeing 737 into prohibited airspace above the White House seconds after taking off from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) last month.
AOPA has expressed alarm about new notam language that says pilots could be subject to criminal penalties for violations of TFRs and other security airspace.
As the pressure mounts in Congress to do something about pilots who bust the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) around Washington, D.C., the FAA has apparently decided to try to head off any “draconian” legislation.
In a recently released Government Accountability Office (GAO) study on securing and defending U.S. airspace, the FAA said general aviation pilots accounted for most of the 3,400 restricted-airspace violations recorded between Sept. 12, 2001, and Dec. 31, 2004. The report attributes most of these violations to weather diversions, pop-up temporary flight restrictions or pilots’ failure to check for notices of restrictions.
While many in general aviation were seeking to modify or eliminate the much-loathed Washington air defense identification zone (ADIZ), the FAA executed a 180-degree course change early last month and issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to make the ADIZ permanent.
To help pilots understand the complexities of today’s stricter airspace rules and reduce violations for operating in restricted airspace–particularly the special airspace in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area–the FAA has posted an online, self-administered training course at www. faasafety.gov/ALC. Pilots who complete the course and pass a 25-question test receive a certificate of completion.
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