I remember hearing that special training was required to fly into the Washington DC area and that it didn't really apply to me (maybe it was VFR only?). What is the requirement and what must you do when flying in the area?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Besides just the SFRA, there are several special use airspaces within the DC metro. The training provides an overview of this, so I recommend taking it whether you are technically "required" or not. It's online, relatively painless, and just good sense. $\endgroup$
    – theMayer
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 1:55

2 Answers 2


There is a training course on FAASafety.gov that all pilots operating VFR flight within 60nmi of Washington DC must take.

Since I assume you are flying IFR, you would not be required to take it.

From AOPA:

All of the following operations are exempt from the training requirement:

  • Pilots operating under instrument flight rules (IFR);
  • Law enforcement, military, and aeromedical operations; and
  • A pilot who must deviate to the extent necessary to address an emergency situation.

You are correct.

Starting on February 9, 2009, any pilots flying VFR within a 60 nautical miles (110 km) radius centered on the ADIZ are required to complete training about the ADIZ. This training can be completed online through a course called "Navigating the New DC ADIZ". Pilots may also complete the required training by attending a seminar offered at a Flight Standards District Office. Pilots must obtain a certificate which proves that the training has been completed. This certificate is not required to be carried with the pilot, but must be produced when requested from law enforcement or other agencies. Pilots flying IFR are not subject to this requirement. [src]

This is not a TFR, but a permanent special flight rules area. More info can be found here on flying around DC in general.

The specific rules can be found in FAR 91.161:

(a) Operations within a 60-nautical mile radius of the Washington, DC VOR/DME under visual flight rules (VFR). Except as provided under paragraph (e) of this section, no person may serve as a pilot in command or as second in command of an aircraft while flying within a 60-nautical mile radius of the DCA VOR/DME, under VFR, unless that pilot has completed Special Awareness Training and holds a certificate of training completion.

(b) Special Awareness Training. The Special Awareness Training consists of information to educate pilots about the procedures for flying in the Washington, DC area and, more generally, in other types of special use airspace. This free training is available on the FAA's Web site. Upon completion of the training, each person will need to print out a copy of the certificate of training completion.

  • $\begingroup$ Is that Training still available? I was not able to locate it, only a Checklist dated 11/15/07. $\endgroup$
    – CrossRoads
    Commented Jul 3, 2018 at 19:32

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