For Immediate Release

December 11, 2001
Contact: Mike Fergus
Phone: (425) 227-1203

RENTON, WA — The FAA's Northwest Mountain Region is strongly cautioning the General Aviation community to take more seriously the posted Notices To Airmen (NOTAMs) that informs them of various restricted airspace categories and their locations throughout the Northwest.

"Most of the general aviation pilots are very responsible airmen, but recently there has been an increase in the number of restricted airspace violations in our Northwest Region. Most recently, the Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) areas around the U.S. Navy complexes in Puget Sound have seen a rise in restricted airspace incursions," said Samuel Aaron, Manager of the FAA's Seattle Flight Standards District Office.

According to Aaron, although FAA regulations do not make mandatory the specific requirement to check NOTAMs prior to flying, nonetheless pilots are held responsible .. per regulation .. for knowing current restrictions and conditions as up-to-date information is available, including NOTAMs, through Flight Service Station data by calling 1-800-WX-BRIEF.

In addition to availability of FAA's information, the U.S. Civil Air Patrol (CAP), an auxiliary to the U.S. Air Force with small light aircraft, is assisting by patrolling areas adjacent to restricted airspaces to help prevent incursions. According to CAP Wing Commander Colonel Dale Newell of the local CAP Wing based at McChord AFB, Washington, other Wings throughout the nation are assisting in various other homeland defense missions.

"Since the national tragedy of September 11th, the FAA's security function has a strongly heightened sensitivity to restricted airspace incursions and, in fact, is currently prosecuting some violators," said Aaron.

On a case-by-case basis, the FAA can determine what level and severity of penalty is appropriate however, with very few exceptions, an airman can expect suspension or revocation of their pilot certificate.