FAA considers new restricted air rule

July 6, 2006 at 10:44 AM
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WASHINGTON, July 6 (UPI) -- The Federal Aviation Administration was considering a rule requiring pilots to pass an Internet training course before flying near restricted airspace.

The proposed regulation comes in response to multiple violations of restricted airspace near Washington by private pilots, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

Under the rule, private pilots would be required to complete a training program on the FAA Safety Program Web site before flying within 115 miles of Washington, the Post said.

A large ring of restricted airspace was established in 2003 around an existing controlled area, bringing the total restricted area to about 4,200 square miles. Since its inauguration, the area has been breached 1,000 times, causing resources to be diverted from air traffic controllers and military, law enforcement, and aviation authorities, FAA officials said.

"We don't want pilots to be looking at a couple of F-16s next to them to make them understand that this is restricted airspace," FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown told the Post. "We want pilots to understand how to safely cross (restricted airspace) if they need to and we want them to understand all the proper procedures."

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