...New Rule Spells Out Procedures...

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Under the new rule, transient pilots must receive prior authorization to use the airports. They will have to be fingerprinted at Reagan National Airport, complete a criminal background check, pass muster with the TSA, check in with the FAA in Washington or Baltimore and present their documents to airport management. The airport operators must keep a list of all pilots and aircraft who have been approved, and ensure security of aircraft on the field. The TSA will designate an Airport Security Coordinator at each of the three airports. The rule also makes permanent the Flight Restricted Zone. The TSA is accepting comments on the new rule, and says it will not hesitate to make changes if it finds better ways to enhance security or reduce costs. AOPA notes that the rule makes no mention of the much bigger Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), originally established in the run-up to the Iraq War. AOPA argues that absent a specific and credible threat, the ADIZ has outlived its usefulness, and creates an undue burden on pilots and air traffic controllers alike. "While reducing the size of the ADIZ to just the FRZ is AOPA's primary goal, permitting transient operations in the FRZ is a step in the right direction," said AOPA President Phil Boyer.