- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 23, 2001

The Federal Aviation Administration is opening the skies over 12 more cities to all private planes, leaving only Washington, New York and Boston with limits on the small aircraft.
The action allows pilots in the 12 cities to resume flying under what are known as visual flight rules, in which the pilot is low enough in the sky in good weather to navigate by landmarks on the ground and is not required to file a flight plan, according to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. Away from the major airports, pilots usually don't talk to controllers. Around 90 percent of all private planes fly under visual flight rules.
Yesterday, the airspace over Atlanta, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami and San Francisco reopened to all private planes.
Other metropolitan areas will be reopened over the next two days beginning at 7 a.m. EDT each day. Today, Denver, Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and San Diego will reopen and on Wednesday, Chicago and Orlando, Fla.
"This is very good news for general aviation pilots," AOPA spokesman Warren Morningstar said. "We're going to continue to work to see if we can get the remaining restrictions modified consistent with our national security concerns."
In Boston, New York and Washington, pilots must continue to file flight plans with the Federal Aviation Administration. In those cases, air-traffic controllers are responsible for keeping pilots away from other planes. All private plane flights are banned within 20 miles of John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Seventeen small airports in those areas remain closed.
The ban also continues on foreign-owned private planes, unless they are registered in Canada or Mexico, flying into the United States. And news helicopters and blimps still can't fly within 30 metropolitan areas.
Private planes flying under visual flight rules must have transponders, which allow air-traffic controllers to track the aircraft, or must obtain a waiver from the FAA. While flying within 23 miles of 30 major airports, including the 12 in the metropolitan areas opening to all private planes this week, the pilots also must monitor a specific radio frequency.

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