Washington Airspace Restrictions Are Now Permanent

What used to be a temporary ADIZ (Air Defense Identification Zone) is now a permanent FRZ (Flight Restricted Zone) surrounded by an SFRA (Special Flight Rules Area). An FAA final rule has established the new airspace configuration around the nation's capital. The FRZ is a 15-nautical-mile-radius ring emanating from Washington National Airport. Flights within the FRZ are restricted to those authorized by the FAA and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). To enter the SFRA, pilots must file a flight plan and fly in radio contact with ATC. An ATC-assigned transponder code is also required. The good news is that the new airspace encompasses a footprint some 1,800 square miles smaller than the ADIZ established as a temporary security measure in February 2003-a direct response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. That restricted airspace consisted of three overlapping rings extending out 23 miles from each of the major airports in the Washington area. That airspace was reduced in size in August 2007, removing restrictions on 33 airports and helipads, and forming the basis for the current, permanent configuration.