Homeland Security: Protecting Airspace in the National Capital Region [September 1, 2005] [open pdf - 64KB]
"Since September 11, 2001, several actions have been taken to monitor and protect the airspace around Washington, DC. However, many general aviation (GA) interests have protested that extensive airspace restrictions and complex procedures exceed what is necessary to protect critical assets from possible terrorist attacks using aircraft. Policymakers have struggled to address airspace protection needs without unduly impeding air commerce or compromising safety. While the administration is currently seeking to make the airspace restrictions in the National Capital Region permanent, Congress has pushed for an easing of restrictions on GA aircraft at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) and nearby GA airports through legislation and oversight. However, a few high profile airspace breaches have prompted some in Congress to seek stiffer penalties for violators and mandatory training for pilots (see H.R. 3465). Better pilot training and technologies to improve pilot situational awareness may help curtail inadvertent airspace violations that complicate surveillance and protection efforts. Further assessment of airspace design and special flight procedures around Washington, DC, may be undertaken to determine whether an appropriate balance exists between homeland security and defense requirements and air commerce and safety. This report will be updated as needed."
CRS Report for Congress, RS22234