Washington Airspace Training for Paramotor Pilots
New Training Requirements for flight within 60 nautical miles of
I have been asked to comment on a recent FAA training requirement for
pilots flying within 60 nautical miles of Washington D.C.
After the 9/11 attacks, special airspace was created around
Washington D.C. to better protect the U.S. leadership there from
airborne threats. In subsequent years, general aviation pilots have
violated the airspace enough times to cause a stir, and a congressional
demand that the FAA "do something." This amendment is what they did.
By all measures that I can see, the rule does NOT apply to ultralight
pilots. Primarily, it's an amendment to FAR part 91, a part that, with a
few exemptions, does not apply to us (PPG pilots). Our regulation,
FAR 103, does include some references to Part 91 but this is not one of
them. And the amendment's verbiage only addresses "aircraft" which does
not include us--we're "vehicles."
Having said that, getting the training appears to be simple and free.
It would sure be a good idea, for pilots near D.C., to get the training
and conform to the rule. In fact, after reading the public comments, the
FAA could have taken far more draconian measures. I would STRONGLY
encourage pilots who paramotor in the D.C. area to take the training. If
anything happens and they get called on the carpet, it will be helpful
to have been exercising due diligence to be informed. Moreover, better
awareness may, in fact, prevent an incursion in the first place.
Below is a copy of the most pertinent parts of the rule and
here is the full rule in
Word Document form.
Special Awareness Training for the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area
August 12, 2008, Federal Register [Page 46797-46804],
Dept of Transportation
Federal Aviation Administration, 14 CFR Part 91 [Docket No.
FAA-2006-25250; Amdt. No. 91-302]
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: The FAA is requiring "special awareness''
training for any pilot who flies under visual flight rules (VFR) within
a 60-nautical- mile (NM) radius of the Washington, DC VHF
omni-directional range/ distance measuring equipment (DCA VOR/DME). This
training has been developed and provided by the FAA on its
www.FAASafety.gov Web site and focuses primarily on training pilots on
the procedures for flying in and around the Washington, DC Metropolitan
Area Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) and the Washington, DC
Metropolitan Area Flight Restricted Zone (FRZ). The rule will reduce the
number of unauthorized flights into the airspace of the Washington, DC
Metropolitan Area ADIZ and FRZ through education of the pilot community.
DATES: This final rule is effective on February 9,
2009. Affected parties, however, do not have to comply with the
information collection requirement in Sec. 91.161 until the FAA
publishes in the Federal Register the control number assigned by the
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for this information collection
requirement. Publication of the control number notifies the public that
OMB has approved this information collection requirement under the
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.
ADIZ--Air Defense Identification Zone
AOPA--Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
ATC--Air Traffic Control
DCA VOR/DME--Washington, DC very high frequency omni-directional
range/distance measuring equipment
FDC--Flight Data Center
FRZ--Flight Restricted Zone
HAI--Helicopter Association International
IFR--Instrument flight rules
NATA--National Air Transportation Association
NOTAM--Notice to Airmen
NPRM--Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
VFR--Visual flight rules
B. Summary of the Special Awareness Training NPRM
On July 5, 2006, the FAA issued a Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking (NPRM) entitled, "Special Awareness Training for the
Washington, DC Metropolitan Area'' (71 FR 38118). The FAA proposed that
pilots flying VFR within a radius of 100 nautical miles (NM) of the DCA
VOR/DME complete free online Special Awareness Training for operating in
the Washington, DC metropolitan area and other Temporary Flight
Restriction (TFR) areas. Pilots would be required to complete the
training one time. Upon completion of the online training, a pilot would
download a copy of his or her certificate of training completion. A copy
of the certificate would have to be presented upon request of an
authorized representative of the FAA, an authorized representative of
National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), any Federal, State, or
local law enforcement officer, or an authorized representative of the
Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
The comment period for the NPRM closed on September 5,
2006. The FAA is issuing this rule essentially as proposed, except that
the proposed requirement that training must be completed by pilots
flying within a 100-NM radius from the DCA VOR/DME has been modified in
the final rule to require training for pilots flying within a 60-NM
radius of the DCA VOR/DME. The FAA will place a note on the Washington
Sectional, Baltimore-Washington Terminal Area Sectional, Baltimore-
Washington Helicopter Route Sectional, and the CG-21 World Aeronautical
Chart about the training requirement for the Washington, DC ADIZ and FRZ
In addition, the heading of Sec. 91.161 has been
modified to better describe the content of the section, and a paragraph
entitled "Special Awareness Training'' has been added to describe the
training required by Sec. 91.161 and where it is located.
C. Other Washington, DC ADIZ-Related Rulemaking
On August 4, 2005, the FAA issued an NPRM entitled,
"Washington, DC Metropolitan Area Special Flight Rules Area'' (70 FR
45250) that proposed to codify current flight restrictions for certain
aircraft operations in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. That rule
remains in development, and this final rule is not directly related to
the issues addressed in that rulemaking action.
X. Availability of Rulemaking Documents
You can get an electronic copy of rulemaking documents using the
1. Searching the Federal eRulemaking Portal (http:// www.regulations.gov);
2. Visiting the FAA's Regulations and Policies Web page at http://
3. Accessing the Government Printing Office's Web page at http://
You can also get a copy by sending a request to the Federal Aviation
Administration, Office of Rulemaking, ARM-1, 800 Independence Avenue,
SW., Washington, DC 20591, or by calling (202) 267-9680. Make sure to
identify the amendment number or docket number of this rulemaking.
Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all comments received
into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the
comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an
association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT's complete
Privacy Act statement in the Federal Register published on April 11,
2000 (Volume 65, Number 70; Pages 19477-78) or you may visit http://dms.dot.gov.
XI. Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act
The Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) of 1996
requires FAA to comply with small entity requests for information or
advice about compliance with statutes and regulations within its
jurisdiction. If you are a small entity and you have a question
regarding this document, you may contact your local FAA official, or the
person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT at the beginning of
the preamble. You can find out more about SBREFA on the Internet at
List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 91
Air traffic control, Aircraft, Airmen, Airports, Aviation safety, Noise
control, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.
In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal
Aviation Administration amends chapter I of title 14, Code of Federal
Regulations as follows:
PART 91--GENERAL OPERATING AND FLIGHT RULES
1. The authority citation for part 91 continues to read as follows:
Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 1155, 40103, 40113, 40120, 44101, 44111,
44701, 44704, 44709, 44711, 44712, 44715, 44716, 44717, 44722, 46306,
46315, 46316, 46504, 46506-46507, 47122, 47508, 47528- 47531, articles
12 and 29 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (61 Stat.
2. Add Sec. 91.161 to read as follows:
Sec. 91.161 Special awareness training required for pilots flying under
visual flight rules within a 60-nautical mile radius of the Washington,
(a) Operations within a 60-nautical mile radius of the Washington, DC
VOR/DME under visual flight rules (VFR). Except as provided under
paragraph (e) of this section, no person may serve as a pilot in command
or as second in command of an aircraft while flying within a 60-nautical
mile radius of the DCA VOR/DME, under VFR, unless that pilot has
completed Special Awareness Training and holds a certificate of training
(b) Special Awareness Training. The Special Awareness Training consists
of information to educate pilots about the procedures for flying in the
Washington, DC area and, more generally, in other types of special use
airspace. This free training is available on the FAA's Web site. Upon
completion of the training, each person will need to print out a copy of
the certificate of training completion.
(c) Inspection of certificate of training completion. Each person who
holds a certificate for completing the Special Awareness Training must
present it for inspection upon request from:
(1) An authorized representative of the FAA;
(2) An authorized representative of the National Transportation Safety
(3) Any Federal, State, or local law enforcement officer; or
(4) An authorized representative of the Transportation Security
(d) Emergency declared. The failure to complete the Special Awareness
Training course on flying in and around the Washington, DC Metropolitan
Area is not a violation of this section if an emergency is declared by
the pilot, as described under Sec. 91.3(b), or there was a failure of
two-way radio communications when operating under IFR as described under
(e) Exceptions. The requirements of this section do not apply if the
flight is being performed in an aircraft of an air ambulance operator
certificated to conduct part 135 operations under this chapter, the U.S.
Armed Forces, or a law enforcement agency.