flymia
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GA Airports Near D.C?

Mon Sep 18, 2006 2:20 am

What GA airports are near the Washington D.C. area? How far away are they from lets say DCA? Also are GA aircraft allowed to fly into DCA again?
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
 
pilotpip
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RE: GA Airports Near D.C?

Mon Sep 18, 2006 2:56 am

There are a number of GA airports in that area. Some that come to mind are Leesburg, VA, Fredrick, MD, and others. GA is allowed into DCA, but the restrictions to fly in there are pretty unrealistic. IAD handles a lot of GA traffic now too.
DMI
 
dw747400
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RE: GA Airports Near D.C?

Mon Sep 18, 2006 4:12 am

There are two rings of airspace around DC from a security standpoint. The first, Flight Restricted Zone or FRZ, is limited to traffic into DCA, airplanes using the three GA airports within it, and military traffic. The three airports (called the DC-3) are Potomac, College Park, and Hyde Field.

The FRZ is nominally defined as a 15 mile arc around DCA VOR, though it isn't a perfect circle

Check out AOPA's site for more details about the complex process required to fly into the FRZ: http://www.aopa.org/whatsnew/air_traffic/frz.html

Also, DCA has served some limited GA traffic, but requirements included stopping for an inspection outside the FRZ. I'm not sure what the current status is.

Outside the FRZ is the Air Defense Identification Zone, or ADIZ, which falls over dozens of airports. See the chart: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Dc_adiz.jpg The red is the ADIZ, the white center the FRZ.

ADIZ requires a flight plan be filed for IFR or VFR, a transponder with altitude encoding (and a discrete squawk code), contact with ATC, and a lot of patience. The system has so overtaxed Potomac approach it can take half an hour just to get through to them on the phone for a squawk code prior to takeoff.


Some major GA airports in the ADIZ include Gaithersburg MD, Tipton (Fort Meade) MD, Martin State, MD, Annapolis-Lee, MD, and Baybridge. I'm not familiar with the Virginia side, but all of these MD airports were a lot busier before the ADIZ came about. BWI is also affected (in fact, its bravo defines the dimensions of the eastern half of the ADIZ), but since it see primarily IFR traffic and GA is limited, its not as big an issue for them as for an all light single and twin airport like Tipton.

[Edited 2006-09-17 21:13:35]
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thepilot
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RE: GA Airports Near D.C?

Mon Sep 18, 2006 6:09 am

A good website is skyvector.com. You can then type in DCA and look around the area.
From YVR
 
flymia
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RE: GA Airports Near D.C?

Mon Sep 18, 2006 7:34 am

So what is the closet airport in terms of miles to DC that someone could learn to fly, using a FBO? I guess there are not many student pilots at those GA airports in ADIZ?
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
 
dw747400
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RE: GA Airports Near D.C?

Mon Sep 18, 2006 1:39 pm

W00, Freeway Airport, is probably the closest to DCA. Its roughly 14 nm from DCA and sits in a small cutout of the FRZ, allowing it to operate free of the incredible restrictions that airspace has.

I don't know anything about flight training within the FRZ--it may be authorized, but you certainly need to clear the FRZ before doing anything productive.

Flight training in the ADIZ can be a pain, but plenty of people still do it. Depending on how busy it is, you may be able to practice maneuvers within the ADIZ or you may be forced to leave it--which can eat ups some flight time in a slow trainer. Pattern work is authorized, but you still need a flight plan for it, as well as a squawk code.

Are you specifically looking for training in the DC area?
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flymia
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RE: GA Airports Near D.C?

Tue Sep 19, 2006 10:25 am

Quoting Dw747400 (Reply 5):
Are you specifically looking for training in the DC area?

Yes, I might end up going to college in the DC area so I wanted to know my options for flight training while I am there.
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
 
GAIsweetGAI
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RE: GA Airports Near D.C?

Tue Sep 19, 2006 10:45 am

Quoting FlyMIA (Reply 4):
So what is the closet airport in terms of miles to DC that someone could learn to fly, using a FBO? I guess there are not many student pilots at those GA airports in ADIZ?

Actually I don't think there are any requirements (but I may be wrong).
There are plenty of student pilots around here- the GAI flight school is doing quite well (the chief pilot was telling another instructor they are uderstaffed). Plenty of students- I'm one of them. The only thing you have to do before a flight is file an ADIZ flight plan with Leesburg. If you're flying North, just watch out for P-40.
"There is an art, or rather a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss."
 
dw747400
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RE: GA Airports Near D.C?

Wed Sep 20, 2006 2:41 am

Quoting GAIsweetGAI (Reply 7):
The only thing you have to do before a flight is file an ADIZ flight plan with Leesburg.

I hope thats not the only thing you do--taking off without a squawk is a major problem!

When everything works, it isn't that big of a deal... it is when it doesn't work, it is a major issue. It used to take 30 or 40 minutes to get through to an FSS on a nice day--this has gotten better since Lockheed has taken over, with normal waits of 10 minutes or less.

The bigger issue is contacting Potomac for the squawk. You typically do this right before start-up, and the phoneline is often busy. Other times they will simply refuse to let you fly due to the amount of traffic--something that is prudent in IFR, but a real pain with VFR!

Sitll, I wouldn't worry about it too much if you are selecting a college. Flying here can be tougher, but it certainly is possible and gets you ready for interesting situations.

What colleges are you looking at in the area (if you'd prefer to PM me, thats fine)?
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airfoilsguy
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RE: GA Airports Near D.C?

Wed Sep 20, 2006 3:09 am

Quoting Pilotpip (Reply 1):

Happy 3rd anaversary!  champagne 
It's not a near miss it's a near hit!!
 
762er
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RE: GA Airports Near D.C?

Wed Sep 20, 2006 6:12 am

I live in DC near adams Morgan and I fly out of Gaithersburg. You just have to file an "ADIZ" flight plan and pick up your squawk code before taking off. I believe traffic there has actually increased because of the incoming traffic from college park, Friendly, and Hyde. It's pretty simply an the drive has never taken more than 35-40 minutes.
 
GAIsweetGAI
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RE: GA Airports Near D.C?

Wed Sep 20, 2006 9:23 am

Quoting 762er (Reply 10):
I live in DC near adams Morgan and I fly out of Gaithersburg.

We might've met, without knowing... I fly out of GAI too.
"There is an art, or rather a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss."
 
United767
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RE: GA Airports Near D.C?

Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:03 pm

Manassas, Virginia has a flight program and is about 25 miles west of DCA down I-66. I live in Alexandria, and am about 5 miles from the "mall" and rarely see GA aircraft except for helicopters going to Bolling AFB and to the Pentagon.

BTW 762ER, Do you work for US @ DCA? If so, what do you do for them? I work for UA on the ramp there on afternoon shift.

[Edited 2006-09-20 06:05:58]
I wish UA flew mainline to MYR, that way you wouldn't be stuck in a smelly Saturn for 12 hours.

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