Border NOTAM Unchanged

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has so far not amended a NOTAM that is causing major headaches and expense for some Canadian pilots and operators.

On Jan. 1, the FAA issued the NOTAM, which requires anyone overflying U.S. territory in a foreign-registered aircraft to have a security waiver or TSA-approved security clearance. Until Jan. 1, Canadian aircraft could transit U.S. airspace between Canadian airports at will, as long as they filed a flightplan and stayed in touch with ATC.

The new rules require background checks and a process that can take a week or more according to COPA President Bernard Gervais. Pilots who ignore the NOTAM risk being intercepted and forced to land at a U.S. airport for, at best, a stern talking to.

Shortcuts through the U.S. are common in Eastern Canada but the West isn’t immune. For instance, anyone flying from Victoria to Vancouver has to take a detour around a patch of Georgia Strait that is in the U.S.

The precedent setting nature of the situation is also a concern to COPA.

“U.S. TSA had not consulted or informed the Canadian government, Transport Canada, Nav Canada or COPA prior to issuing this restrictive NOTAM through the FAA,” COPA says in a note on its Web site. “All were surprised and blindsided. Currently top management at TC are now aware and collaborating with COPA.”

AOPA is also working the issue from that side of the border but so far there is no indication when the NOTAM might be amended.