WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is modifying the restricted airspace over the National Capital Region to make it safer, more secure and easier for pilots to navigate.
The new, circular 30-nautical-mile-radius restricted area eliminates the "mouse ears" shape of the current Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) and allows pilots to use a single navigational aid instead of the four in use today. That change, which will go into effect on August 30, 2007, frees 33 airports and helipads from the current restrictions in approximately 1,800 square miles of airspace, significantly reducing the economic impact on the general aviation community.
The new, more uniform restricted area and additional procedures address many of the issues identified in the more than 20,000 public comments on the FAA's 2006 proposal to make the ADIZ permanent. The FAA coordinated the changes with the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense, which enforce the restrictions.
"Our aim is to balance vigilance with new measures that make it easier to track who belongs in this airspace and who does not," said FAA Administrator Marion C. Blakey.
The new measures will make it easier to track authorized flights and identify any aircraft that is not complying with the rules.
Meanwhile, commonsense modifications to the shape of the restricted area and new, established procedures for certain flight operations are expected to reduce the number of unintentional violations on the outer edges of the ADIZ.
The FAA is also adding four new positions at the Potomac TRACON, the facility that supports safety and security procedures in the ADIZ.
When the changes go into effect, they can be found at www.faa.gov.
The FAA has received more than 18,400 comments from individuals, corporations, airports and industry associations, largely in opposition (e.g., 99 out of 100 submissions).
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