International Arrival Requirements Loosened

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An FAA Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) describing security-related requirements for non-scheduled aircraft arrivals into the U.S. and overflights in U.S. airspace was recently revised, significantly simplifying previous requirements. The new requirements are outlined in NOTAM FDC 6/7435 - U.S. Entry and Overflight Requirements, which was issued Aug. 23, 2006. The new NOTAM and replaces NOTAM FDC 2/5319, which dates from June 11, 2002. Under the new requirements, the three requirements for operations to or from the U.S. are:

  • Operators must file and operate with an active flight plan.
  • Aircraft must be equipped with an operational Mode C transponder and continuously squawk an ATC-issued transponder code.
  • Operators must maintain two-way communications with ATC.
Additionally, TSA waivers will no longer be required for flights operated by aircraft with a certificated takeoff gross weight 100,309 pounds or less.

The new NOTAM was issued by the FAA, presumably with close coordination among the TSA and other agencies, but with little public fanfare. The NOTAM being replaced, FDC 2/5319, was significantly lengthier and more complicated. Generally, the new, less-stringent requirements apply only to U.S.-registered aircraft. As always, operators are strongly encouraged to obtain and understand a complete set of airspace NOTAMs as part of their routine pre-flight planning.