Online Training to Be Required for D.C. Airspace Users

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By FAA count, there have been more than 3,000 incursions into the Washington, D.C., Area Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) since the restricted area's inception in 2003. As a result, the agency last week issued a final rule mandating completion of a one-hour online course for pilots who wish to fly under VFR within 60 nautical miles of the Washington, D.C., VOR/DME. Once a pilot completes the course at faasafety.gov, he or she prints out a certificate. Officials from FAA, NTSB or TSA and federal, state or local law enforcement agents can request to see the certificate. The final rule is scheduled to go into effect February 9, 2009. Reaction from general aviation advocacy groups is mixed, with EAA voicing the opinion that it is "up to us" to maintain vigilance. AOPA expressed concern that the 60-mile veil encompasses more than the ADIZ itself, and constitutes an "enforcement trap" for pilots who have otherwise remained clear of the restricted airspace.