The US Federal Aviation Administration will test a relaxation of the special security restrictions on general aviation flying in the Baltimore-Washington DC air defence identification zone (ADIZ) in response to intense lobbying by private aviation groups.

The 60-day test, to begin 1 November, will let pilots fly into and out of two small airports about 50km (30 miles) from Baltimore without filing a flight plan, contacting air traffic control or receiving a discrete transponder code. Routing and altitude restrictions will remain on flights to and from these two airports.

The test will also allow aircraft to leave a dozen other small Maryland airports without first filing an ADIZ flight plan. But pilots will have to broadcast a special code to announce their intention to leave the ADIZ from these airports. Pilots will continue to follow ADIZ rules when flying to these airports, and any deviation would trigger a military response. US Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association president Phil Boyer calls the test "one of the first real breaks general aviation has got" in the security zone. He reiterates that the special restriction "has outlived its intent". Washington National Airport remains closed to most general aviation aircraft.

Source: Flight International