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DC Airspace Training for Pilots

Reprinted with permission from FAA Aviation News

To help general aviation pilots understand the complexities of today's stricter airspace rules and reduce violations of restricted airspace, the FAA is offering special online training for anyone who flies in or near restricted areas, especially around Washington, DC.

This training, accessed easily through a home computer and taken at a pilot's own pace, provides detailed information on the requirements and procedures required to operate in the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Area Flight Restricted Zone (FRZ), the Washington DC Metropolitan Area Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) and other restricted airspace. Pilots who complete the web-based course and pass a 25-question multiple-choice test will receive a certificate of completion. The course is available at http://www.faasafety.gov.

'Very few pilots actually intend to fly into restricted airspace, but even an in-advertent violation could have serious consequences,' said FAA Administrator Marion C. Blakey. 'Pilots are strongly encouraged to take the training to help them understand how to avoid getting into a difficult situation.'

The training is part of a broad effort by the FAA to reduce the number of violations of Washington airspace. Since June 2004, the FAA has expanded its educational efforts with the general aviation community, including the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA)/Air Safety Foundation. Highly experienced air traffic control specialists have conducted outreach programs, including visits to flight schools, local flying clubs, local law enforcement aviation units, and military bases. As a result, the number of restricted airspace violations has dropped over the past year.

The training provides detailed guidance on requirements and procedures for flying in the Washington area, as well as a review of requirements and procedures for operating in other types of special use airspace. The course assumes pilots have a good understanding of aircraft operation, air navigation and air traffic control procedures. Most of the course's graphics incorporate actual navigation charts. The FAA estimates the total time to take the course and the test is about an hour.

Even after completing the test, pilots who intend to operate in this air-space must file a flight plan, be in contact with FAA air traffic control, and obtain and continuously use a special transponder identification code as-signed by air traffic controllers, Blakey added.

The FRZ extends approximately 15 nautical miles (about 17 statute miles) around the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, located in Arlington County, VA, four miles from downtown Washington. The FRZ is not a perfect circle. The ADIZ surrounds the FRZ, and extends in radius around the three major metropolitan airports: Reagan Washington National, Thurgood Marshall Baltimore-Washington International, and Dulles Inter-national. The ADIZ extends approximately 20 nautical miles (about 23 statute miles) around Dulles and Baltimore-Washington, and 30 nautical miles (about 35 statute miles) around Washington National Airport.