FAA Lifted Restrictions Conducted Under Part 91


FAA Update

General Aviation Flights

On Sept. 21, the FAA lifted many of the restrictions place on flight training operations conducted under Part 91 of the Federal Aviation Regulations. On Sept. 19, the FAA authorized limited return of general aviation Part 91 visual flight rules operations, or VFR, flights. Instrument Flight Rules, or IFR, flights were authorized on Sept. 14.

If you are a general aviation pilot and are unsure of your authorization status, please contact your local Flight Service Station at 1-800-WXBRIEF. VFR pilots must receive a full briefing from their Flight Service Station or DUATS, as well as familiarize themselves with the text of the NOTAM.

Crop-Dusters Are Flying

On Sept. 25, effective 12:05 a.m. in each local time zone, all part 137 agricultural aviators are allowed to resume operations. However, all agricultural aircraft operators are urged to continue to check FAA NOTAMS regarding FAR Part 137 operations to determine the current status of authorized operations.

As of Sept. 25, agricultural aviation flights have resumed.

Most of the nation’s busiest airports are now operating, with the exception of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. There is a list of airports on our web site at http://www.faa.gov that have certified they can meet our new security standards and are ready to reopen.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and the FAA has reached the decision that Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport will remain closed for the time being. This decision to temporarily suspend flight operations was made due to the airport’s proximity to key federal installations in the Washington, D.C., area, including the Pentagon. The Authority will continue to work with the FAA and other agencies to further assess the situation and re-open in as timely a manner as possible.

At 11 a.m. on Sept. 13, the Secretary of Transportation announced that the national ground stop put in place Sept. 11 was lifted for commercial aviation. For air travelers, most of the nation's airports are open, with the exception of Washington Reagan National Airport.

For general aviation operators and pilots, the U.S. Department of Transportation has approved resumption of general aviation Instrument Flight Rules, or IFR, flights as of Sept. 14 at 4 p.m. Eastern time. However, those flights may not fly within 25 nautical miles of New York City and Washington, DC. Those restrictions will be kept in place until further notice as officials continue to assess the recovery situation in those cities over the near term.

Pilots operating under Part 91 of the Federal Aviation Regulations, must be instrument-rated, must file IFR flight plans, and must receive a clearance before departure. Flights under visual flight rules have not been authorized.

What new security will I notice at the airports?

Will armed officers be put on flights? Yes, FAA Federal Air Marshals who are armed and trained in the use of firearms on board aircraft will be flying anonymously on select flights. Federal Air Marshals are FAA civil aviation security specialists who are specially trained for deployment on anti-hijacking missions. The FAA will not reveal the number or identities of the marshals. Other government agencies are providing additional security personnel at airports and are helping to augment the FAA’s Federal Air Marshal program.
Will the government be taking over the security screener workforce? We are looking at every aspect of security now for possible improvements. The FAA already has a rule pending expected to go final this month that will give the agency direct oversight of screening companies and impose new rigorous standards for training and testing of screeners. The rule will also require the use of new software FAA is deploying that will monitor how well each screener is doing at detecting dangerous objects. Under the new rule, screening companies whose screeners fail to meet FAA detection standards can lose their FAA certification to perform security at the airports.

On Sept. 16, Secretary of Transportation Mineta announced the creation of two separate task forces to deliver specific recommendations for improving security within the national aviation system. One task force will focus on increasing security at the nation’s airports. The other will look at aircraft security, focusing specifically on cockpit access. Six national leaders in aviation and security were named to the task forces, each of which will deliver its recommendations to the Secretary no later than Oct. 1.

Are you going to require hijacking training for pilots and flight attendants? We already require the entire flight crew to undergo initial hijacking training, and annual recurrent training. We do not detail what this training encompasses for obvious security reasons. Whether this training will change in any way, we don’t know at this time, but we’re looking at everything for lessons we can learn.

FAA Administrator Garvey Speaks To World Aviation Leaders

Yesterday, FAA Administrator Jane F. Garvey addressed the opening assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization, or ICAO. Established in 1944, ICAO is a specialized agency of the United Nations. It is responsible for developing international rules governing all areas of civil aviation. In her remarks she called on the ICAO member states to work together on preventing and eradicating acts of terrorism against civil aviation.

Garvey said that the United States will inform ICAO about the near-term recommendations it is developing for improving airport and aircraft security and "on which we will seek international cooperation." The FAA intends to implement these recommendations quickly. Garvey also said, "We in the United States have long known that 'eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.' Now, we know it is the price of mobility…Let's do what needs to be done."

Commercial Airline Travel

The nation's airports have implemented the FAA's stepped-up security measures and are open and operating. Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington, DC remains temporarily closed. If you are traveling by air, please give yourself plenty of time to check in under the strengthened security measures. For specific flight information, call your airline.
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