Relief Gained for Leesburg Executive Airport Pilots
November 17, 2011 – This week the FAA published an advance NOTAM, FDC 1/5334, that provides relief for pilots operating out of Virginia’s Leesburg Executive Airport (JYO). Effective November 30, 2011, pilots will no longer be required to comply with some of the complex operating requirements of the Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA) established for the Washington, D.C., capitol region, which hopefully will reduce the number of flight violations that have occurred in this area.
Most of the violations in the Leesburg Special Maneuvering Area have been caused by pilots simply entering the wrong transponder code prior to departure or entry into this maneuver area.
“The pilots operating from Leesburg Executive Airport (JYO) appreciate the change in the operating procedures within the Leesburg Special Maneuvering Area and we thank the FAA for making this change,” said Dave Watrous, EAA 563322, volunteer vice chairman of the Potomac Class B Ad Hoc Committee. Calling the new procedures a “small step,” he added, “The pilots based at Leesburg Executive Airport agree with EAA’s request to completely eliminate the Leesburg Special Maneuver Area by making it a cutout from all SFRA requirements. Aircraft based at or operating to/from Leesburg Executive Airport do not pose a threat to the National Capitol Region.”
EAA urges pilots who fly in this area to become familiar with the new operating procedures prior to the NOTAM effective date. Highlights of the new procedures include:
- Be equipped with at least one operable two-way radio capable of communicating with Potomac TRACON on appropriate radio frequencies.
- Be equipped with an operating transponder with automatic altitude reporting capability as specified under 14 CFR Section 91.215.
- Monitor VHF guard 121.5 or UHF guard 243.0, if able.
- Squawk the ATC-assigned transponder code or appropriate Leesburg movement area beacon code at all times. Code 1200 is not permitted at any time within the Leesburg Special Maneuvering Area or SFRA.
- Maximum airspeed is 180 knots.
- Pilots departing or arriving into the maneuver area need to self-announce their aircraft call sign, aircraft type, and runway of intended landing on the Leesburg Executive common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF).
- Pilots wishing to operate in the Leesburg traffic pattern must file a D.C. SFRA flight plan, squawk a transponder code issued by Potomac TRACON, establish and maintain radio contact with Potomac TRACON, and receive permission from Potomac TRACON to perform practice approaches into the airport (authorization will be solely based on Potomac TRACON workload).
“EAA will continue working with AOPA, FAA, and TSA to seek to resolve flight safety issues and the complete elimination of these requirements,” said Randy Hansen, EAA government relations director. “For example, these new procedures create a flight safety issue where none existed before; when flying in the traffic pattern you must maintain contact with Potomac TRACON while all arriving and departing traffic must use the CTAF, which means when you have two or more aircraft operating in the traffic pattern they may not be communicating with each other - a very risky flight safety concern.”