IMPORTANT NEWS - SSA Clarifies FAA
SSA Government Affairs Update
March 7, 2002
The "No Loitering" Rule
Flight Near and Over Power Plants, etc.
Following the Sept. 11th attacks, the FAA issued NOTAMs restricting "loitering" in the area of power plants, national laboratories and other national security targets. The rules have presented some specific problems for glider pilots. Specifically the rules failed to define "how close is too close" and failed to take into account that "loitering" for a powered aircraft, that is turning in a circle, is actually a mode of flight for gliding.
SSA has been working with FAA managers to clarify the rules and gain some relief for gliding near these facilities.
Yesterday officials in FAA Air Traffic told SSA that there are two keys to the gliding situation:
Common Sense - The issue about loitering is the volume of time spent in a given area. In FAA's view, according to our Washington contacts, gliders do not "loiter." That is, circling is a mode of flight for us and is acceptable at or near these facilities. The key is to spend only as much time as needed to gain lift and move on beyond the facility.
Communication - The best possible action is for gliding operations and pilots to call the on-site security at local power plants and laboratories. Open a dialogue and tell them who you are and when you may be in their area. Quoting from our FAA contact, "Nothing helps more than a club hat or t-shirt and a personal visit to create a relationship."
One thing was made very clear DO NOT AEROTOW OVER THESE FACILITIES. The facilities and the FAA do not want to see power planes over the top.
SSA Flight HOTLINE Established:
If you have problems with local flight restrictions growing out of the Sept. 11th security mandates or find yourself unable to sort through the new rules you can call the SSA. We have set up a special toll-free number. The folks who answer will take down your information and SSA will work directly with the FAA to see if a solution can be found for your problem. FAA has agreed to work closely and quickly with SSA to work out problems"¦