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General Aviation Will Face Flight Limits in DC Metro Area on Inauguration Day

January 7, 2013

The entire aviation community, including general aviation, will face a host of temporary flight restrictions over the Washington, DC, metro area on Jan. 21 to accommodate President Obama's second inauguration at the U.S. Capitol building.

The restrictions, outlined in a four-page Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) flight advisory, are designed to address heightened security concerns for the swearing-in ceremony and are considered standard for such a high-profile event. The flight limits will be in effect from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time and will apply to the Washington Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA) and the Washington Metropolitan Flight Restriction Zone (FRZ).

Review the FAA flight advisory.

The advisory contains more than a dozen specific restrictions. For instance, no general aviation flights will be authorized to transit through the DC SFRA. In addition, GA aircraft on an active instrument flight rules flight plan may arrive and/or depart only Dulles International Airport (IAD), Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI) and Manassas Regional/Davis Airport (HEF). Pilots are encouraged to read the full advisory to learn all of the details.

Pilots who do not follow the various flight restrictions may be intercepted, detained and interviewed by security personnel, the FAA cautioned. Those who intentionally violate the rules may be subject to civil penalties, suspension or revocation of airmen certificates, or criminal charges. The U.S. government could even use deadly force against an aircraft it deems to be an imminent security threat, the FAA warned.

"Safety is always our members' paramount concern, and Inauguration Day is certainly no exception," said Doug Carr, NBAA vice president of safety, security, operations & regulation. "With that in mind, we encourage those who fly in and out of the DC metro area to familiarize themselves with the FAA flight advisory. Unfortunately, Reagan National Airport will remain off-limits to business aircraft operations for the duration of the temporary flight restrictions."

The flight restrictions discussed in the advisory may change with little warning, so the FAA advises pilots to check notices to airmen (NOTAMs) for updates before conducting operations in the area. Pilots can contact a Flight Service Station at 1-800-WX-BRIEF (1-800-992-7433) before a flight to check for all current NOTAMs.