...After An Aborted Trial Last Year

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The procedures had been the subject of a 60-day operational test last year, but the test was suspended -- at around 45 days -- when the "orange" terrorist alert kicked in last December. The procedures now will be permanent, or as permanent as anything associated with the Washington ADIZ. The changes are subject to review and could be rescinded if there are too many violations, AOPA said. As for the permanence of the ADIZ itself, that remains an open question. "AOPA believes the ADIZ has outlived its usefulness and hopes it will be rescinded," AOPA prez Phil Boyer said in a news release Friday. "But until that happens, the new procedures should make operations at the edges of the ADIZ a little less complicated." While Washington-area pilots welcomed the new procedures, only a small number will benefit from them. For example, except for Bay Bridge, Kentmorr and Martin State, the airports selected for these "relaxed" procedures are private-use facilities. And, except for Bay Bridge, Martin State and Upperville, all have turf runways. Only Martin State, east of Baltimore, is a towered facility. Still, operators in the Washington area -- and, AVweb is certain, air traffic controllers as well as flight service specialists -- looked upon the new procedures as a dim light of clarity at the end of a long tunnel of confusion. Of course, all of this applies until the next time the DHS declares an orange, or "high," terrorist alert.