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Washington D.C. Airspace:

After the September 11 terrorist attacks, security authorities established the Washington D.C. Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA) for the purpose of national security. To fly VFR within the airspace surrounding the Washington D.C. area, pilots are required to take a training course


The airspace is depicted on sectional charts by a dark blue circle with small blue boxes attached and covers a 60NM radius off of the Washington D.C. VOR/DME, which starts at the surface and goes up to but not including 18,000 feet MSL.

The SFRA surrounds three Class B airports, Dulles International, Baltimore International, and Ronald Reagan National, along with Andrews Air Force Base.

The only prohibited areas within the D.C. Tri-Area Class B airspace is the National Mall area where the White House and the Congressional buildings are located.

NOTE: Camp David (P-40) is also a prohibited area but not within the D.C. SFRA area. P-40 is located approximately northwest of Washington D.C.


To fly VFR within the SFRA, pilots must first take a required training course listed in Part 91.161b called the Special Awareness Training. This training is free and located on the FAASafety website. After completion of the course, pilots are required to print and carry the certificate.

A list of strict requirements are listed in Part 93.339 of the Federal Aviation Regulation, such as:

  • Must have operational radios and establish two-way communication with ATC.

  • Operating transponder

  • Must file and activate a flight plan

  • Receive clearance to fly in or out of Class B and Class D airspace, etc.


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