Pilots in Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon, and Washington State’s Puget Sound area got an early holiday present last week. Six temporary flight restriction (TFR) areas have become much less restrictive national security areas (NSAs). That nearly completes a process AOPA initiated earlier this year to reduce the number of restricted areas nationwide The military had wanted to turn 13 TFRs into prohibited areas. AOPA opposed that and suggested that airspace over military installations be designated national security areas. For 11 of the 13 TFRs, the FAA agreed.
TFRs in Washington (Bremerton, Everett, and Port Townsend), Indiana (Newport), Kentucky (Richmond), and Oregon (Umatilla) became NSAs today with the publication of the latest sectional chart. The Pueblo, Colorado, TFR will change over to an NSA with the next charting cycle effective January 20, 2005.
NSAs are marked on aeronautical charts with a broken magenta line and an advisory message to pilots to avoid the area (see “What’s an NSA?”). If needed during times of heightened security, the FAA can issue a NOTAM restricting flight in an NSA.
“Since the 13 TFRs were thrown up shortly after September 11, 2001, 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. The FAA is currently in the rulemaking process to convert the TFRs over Bangor, Washington, and St. Marys, Georgia, into prohibited areas. AOPA is opposing both.