Criminal Reference In TFRs Rankles AOPA


AOPA says it’s concerned about a not-so-subtle change in the wording of the text descriptions of temporary flight restrictions (TFRs). The FAA is now warning pilots they could be held criminally responsible for violating TFRs. AOPA says the agency has always had that ability but seeing it in black and white raises the specter that those powers will actually be employed. AOPA President Phil Boyer has written the FAA asking that pilots who accidentally bust TFRs not face criminal proceedings. “Security-related flight restrictions can occur virtually anywhere in the country with little advance notice. It is not uncommon that the average pilot has to pick through pages and pages of irrelevant and unrelated NOTAMs to find these important airspace restrictions,” Boyer wrote to acting FAA Administrator Bobby Sturgell. The new passage in the TFRs seems to stress that criminal action will follow only if the pilot violates the TFR on purpose. “Any person who knowingly or willfully violates the rules concerning operations in this airspace is subject to certain criminal penalties under 49 USC 46307,” the passage reads.