Customs Takes On TFRs

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Well, now we've done it ... The U.S. Customs Service has begun patrolling the restricted airspace around Washington, D.C., in the specially-equipped Citations and Black Hawk helicopters normally used to track down drug runners and smugglers on the border. The first such patrols were to enforce the 30-nm TFR around the Capitol last Tuesday during President Bush's State of the Union Address. There were no violations reported. Government officials said the customs aircraft are better suited to tagging and tracking aircraft than military fighters but AOPA is concerned those on the customs aircraft will have the wrong attitude in dealing with wayward GA pilots. "Customs should not assume that pilots operating domestically are a threat," said AOPA Senior VP Andy Cebula. "Failure to recognize this is going to lead to problems."