AOPA Praises UAV NOTAM

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Pilots may not like sharing airspace with unmanned aircraft, but many like the temporary flight restrictions that often accompany UAVs even less -- so here's the good news. A recent decision by the FAA to issue an advisory NOTAM instead of a flight restriction for unmanned military aircraft operations has AOPA voicing its approval. "This needs to be the template for other locations where unmanned aircraft are used, said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. AOPA was encouraged by the FAA's apparent consideration of "the needs of civil aviation" balanced with those of the military. The NOTAM advises pilots flying near Cherry Point, N.C. (and more specifically warns those pilots transitioning through Alert Area A-530) of the unmanned vehicle's expected altitude (2500-3500 feet) and "strongly advises" those aircraft flying without encoding transponders to steer clear unless in contact with Cherry Point Approach.