TFRs Back Off A Bit

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With the reduction in the U.S. national threat level from "Orange" back to "Yellow," most of the airspace restrictions that go along with that have eased. And on Friday, the FAA also relaxed some restrictions that have been in place since Sept. 11, 2001, including those near military sites in Washington State, Hawaii, Utah, and Oregon, which should make it easier for pilots to navigate and to fly into nearby airports. "This is a good first step, but it's only a first step," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. The restricted areas were reduced in size, but they were not eliminated, "and pilots still have to beware," Boyer said. Cancellation of the recent Orange alert means the TFR over downtown Chicago has been rescinded. Also, waivers are reinstated for overflights of sporting events at stadiums and for flights within the Washington, D.C., flight restricted zone. Also, extra restrictions on the "DC-3" Maryland airports are cancelled. The Valdez, Alaska TFR will remain in effect until further notice. The changes follow some pressure last month from Congress, as well as continued lobbying by AOPA, EAA, NBAA, and other aviation advocacy groups.