DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration

Potomac TRACON
3699 MacIntosh Drive
Warrenton, VA 20187

Issued: 11/03/2016 1941 (UTC) Effective: 11/04/2016 1200 (UTC)
Potomac TRACON Letter to Airmen: LTA-PCT-19

Subject: SFRA PATTERN WORK OPERATIONS

Cancellation: 11/04/2018 1200 (UTC)

Potomac Approach Control (PCT) has established internal procedures to track all aircraft within the SFRA for security purposes in conjunction with the published NOTAMs and in accordance with 14 CFR 93.339 (C) regarding the Washington, DC Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA).

1. KEY TERMS AND DEFINITIONS

   a. DC SFRA Flight Plan: A VFR flight plan filed as IFR for the sole purpose of complying with the requirements for VFR operations into, out of, and through the DC SFRA. This flight plan is separate and distinct from a standard VFR flight plan, and does not include search and rescue services.

   b. DC FRZ Flight Plan: A VFR flight plan filed as IFR for the sole purpose of complying with the requirements for VFR operations into, out of, and through the DC FRZ. This flight plan is separate and distinct from a standard VFR flight plan, and does not include search and rescue services.

   c. DC SFRA Pattern Flight Plan: A VFR flight plan filed as IFR for the sole purpose of conducting VFR traffic pattern work at airports within the DC SFRA (but not within the DC FRZ), and the aircraft will depart the airport to remain within the airport traffic pattern.

2. OPERATIONS AT CGS, VKX, and W32

In accordance with 14 CFR 93.343 (C), all pilots requesting operations to or from College Park Airport (CGS), Potomac Airport (VKX), or Washington Executive/Hyde Field Airport (W32) are required to file a DC FRZ flight plan with the Washington Hub Flight Service Station (FSS) for each departure and each arrival from/to CGS, VKX, or W32 (i.e. separate flight plans are required for FRZ entry or exit).

NOTE –

If a pilot intends to conduct VFR traffic pattern work at an airport within the DC SFRA (but not within the DC FRZ), in conjunction with a DC FRZ exit flight plan, see 5., below.

3. SFRA PATTERN WORK (Remaining in Local Traffic Pattern)

All pilots requesting VFR traffic pattern work at an airport within the DC SFRA (but not within the DC FRZ) that does not have an operating airport traffic control tower, or where the airport traffic control tower is closed, and the aircraft will depart the airport to remain within the local airport traffic pattern, are advised to do the following:

   a. File a DC SFRA Pattern flight plan. The airport where the pattern work will be conducted is entered in both the departure and destination fields of the flight plan;

(SEE EXAMPLE 1, Below)

    b. Using Table 1-1 below, include the appropriate Fix Radial Distance (FRD) in the “Route” field of the flight plan, so that the National Airspace System (NAS) computer accepts the flight plan;

      Table 1-1. Fix Radial Distance (FRD)

       AIRPORT        FIX RADIAL DISTANCE

   ANP                     ANP360002

   FME                     FME360002

   GAI                      GAI360002

   HEF*                    HEF360002

   JYO*                    JYO360002

   2W5                     2W5360002

   W00                     W00360002

   W18                     W18360002

   W50                     W50360002

   MD24                   MD24360002

*An SFRA Flight Plan is not required to conduct pattern work during times when the ATCT is open.

(SEE EXAMPLE 2, Below)

   c. To identify that the aircraft is staying in the local traffic pattern, include "PATTERN" in the flight plan remarks;

(SEE EXAMPLE 3, Below)

NOTE –

The inclusion of “PATTERN” in remarks does not relieve the pilot of the requirement to verbally request pattern work.

    d. Contact PCT clearance delivery via telephone, GCO or RTR to advise PCT of intent to remain in the departure airport traffic pattern and to obtain a discrete beacon code;

   e. Inform PCT that pattern work is complete by contacting PCT via telephone at 540-351-6129.

4. SFRA PATTERN WORK (With a Tower)

All pilots requesting VFR traffic pattern work at an airport within the DC SFRA (but not within the DC FRZ) that has an operating airport traffic control tower are advised to do the following:

   a. Before departure or before entering the traffic pattern, request to remain in the traffic pattern;

   b. Remain in two-way communications with the tower. If able, monitor VHF frequency 121.5 or UHF frequency 243.0;

   c. Continuously operate the aircraft transponder on code 1234 unless Air Traffic Control assigns a different code; and

   d. Before exiting the traffic pattern, comply with the operating requirements of 14 CFR 93.339, (a)(1) through (a)(7).

5. SFRA PATTERN WORK (All other)

All pilots requesting VFR traffic pattern work at an airport within the DC SFRA (but not within the DC FRZ), not addressed in 3. or 4. above, are advised to do the following:

   a. File a DC FRZ or DC SFRA flight plan;

   b. Advise PCT of their intent to conduct pattern work prior to being switched to the Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF).

   c. Inform PCT that pattern work is complete by contacting PCT, either via last assigned radio frequency, or by telephone at 540-351-6129.

Any questions or comments concerning these procedures may be sent to the address above or by logging on to:

http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ato/service_units/air_traffic_services/tracon/pct/

 


Stephen L. Smith
Air Traffic Manager, Potomac TRACON