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5 Answers

Special certificate for washington dc

Asked by: 2019 views FAA Regulations, General Aviation, Private Pilot

Is there a special certificate needed to fly near Washington DC?

5 Answers



  1. David R on Mar 09, 2013

    If you want to fly within the the DC SFRA you only need to comply with the published NOTAM for that airspace, which largely but not entirely requires two way radio communication, depending on the circumstances and whether you are attempting to land within the 30NM radius of DCA. If you want to land at the DC3 airports (KVKX, KCGS and W32) you will need a security clearance. Details can be found here: https://potomacaviation.com/members/new_account.asp for KVKX. Any of the other DC3 can also provide instructions for acquiring the security clearance. It’s a shame this is required as KCGS is walking distance from a subway and access to all DC offers, but it’s also not that difficult to complete the required security check and once done all of DC is available to pilots.

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  2. Mark Kolber on Mar 10, 2013

    Yes, There is a course and certificate requirement for VFR operation within a 60 NM radius of the DCA VOR.

    Originally created by NOTAM, what was originally the post-911 Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) and Flight Restricted Zone (FRZ) was codified in 2009 into Part 93, Subpart V of the FAR as the Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA), which includes the FRZ. The SFRA is generally a circle with a 30 NM radius surrounding DCA.

    You can see the SFRA and FRZ rules rules beginning at §93.331 of the FAR. I would hope that the printed “FAR/AIM” publications include it (I haven’t had one for years since they are always out of date); if not, you can view them at
    http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?c=ecfr&SID=3ce3f15e5f5581c9cb7f92d781883c58&rgn=div6&view=text&node=14:2.0.1.3.11.19&idno=14 If the link doesn’t bring you directly there, you can go to http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/ECFR?page=browse and browse from there (the FAR is Title 14).

    The training and certificate requirement was part of the 2009 codification of the SFRA. It is in Part 91 at §91.161. The reg starts by telling us:

    ==============================
    Except as provided under paragraph (e) of this section, no person may serve as a pilot in command or as second in command of an aircraft while flying within a 60-nautical mile radius of the DCA VOR/DME, under VFR, unless that pilot has completed Special Awareness Training and holds a certificate of training completion.
    ==============================

    The course is available at https://www.faasafety.gov/gslac/ALC/course_content.aspx?cID=55

    The SFRA itself contains different zones. One of them is the FRZ, which is more restricted area that surrounds the center of government. Flight in that area special security clearances, as David mentions in his post.

    Sound complicated? That’s the reason the FAA requires the course.

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  3. Mark Kolber on Mar 10, 2013

    Yes, there is a special training and certificate requirement for VFR flight withing 60 NM of the DCA VOR.

    The NOTAM that created the Washington DC ADIZ and FRZ was codified into SubPart V of Part 93 of the FAR beginning at 93.331, creating the Dc Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA, generally pronounced “SIFRA”). As part of the codification of the SFRA, the FAA also added FAR 91.161 which starts by telling us:

    ==============================
    Except as provided under paragraph (e) of this section, no person may serve as a pilot in command or as second in command of an aircraft while flying within a 60-nautical mile radius of the DCA VOR/DME, under VFR, unless that pilot has completed Special Awareness Training and holds a certificate of training completion.
    ==============================

    VFR flight in the FRZ, the inner circle of the SFRA (all this is shown in the DC sectional and terminal charts) has additional restrictions and requirements, including the special security requirements for the the three airports David mentioned in his post.

    Sound complicated? Now you know why the FAA requires the course and certificte! The course is available at https://www.faasafety.gov/gslac/ALC/course_content.aspx?cID=55

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  4. John D. Collins on Mar 10, 2013

    I took the course and keep the certificate in my wallet with my pilot, instructor, and medical certificates. That being said, I always fly IFR into the DC area, it is much less stressful and all you have to remember is to not change your transponder code or turn it off until after you are on the ground.

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  5. Mark Kolber on Mar 10, 2013

    I have no idea how I ended up with two posts. I did one and it didn’t seem to take. But I guess it eventually popped in. Sorry.

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