The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration issued a NOTAM on Jan. 1 that significantly changes cross-border operations for Canadian aircraft.
The NOTAM appears to require the operator of any Canadian aircraft to obtain a waiver from the FAA to fly in U.S. airspace.
Before the NOTAM was issued, Canadian aircraft were allowed to transit U.S. airspace without notifying U.S. Customs or security authorities as long as their destination was another Canadian airport.
There are numerous shortcuts across U.S. airspace used by Canadian pilots to get from one domestic airport to another and this NOTAM appears to add a layer of bureaucracy to those flights. Pilots who ignore the directive could find an F-16 or Blackhawk helicopter on their wing, according to the NOTAM.
The measure was apparently imposed without consultation and it seemed to take authorities on this side of the border by surprise.
The Canadian Owners and Pilots Association has put the following notice on its Web site.
“Urgent to all Canadian pilots as of January 1st, 2016, U.S. NOTAM FDC 5/6289, requiring a U.S. TSA approval for “all” flights through U.S. airspace. COPA is currently working with authorities to resolve this issue.”