FAA limits flights over nuclear power plants

By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, Oct. 31, 2001 à‚– The Federal Aviation Administration Tuesday temporarily limited small planes from flying over the nation’s nuclear power plants after government warnings of possible new terrorists attacks against the US in the next few weeks.

All general aviation flying was prohibited within a radius of 10 nautical miles and below 18,000 ft of the 86 nuclear sites. The restrictions are expected to last until midnight eastern time Nov. 6. The FAA said the only exceptions are medical evacuations, law enforcement, rescue/recovery, emergency evacuation, and fire-fighting flights when authorized by air traffic control.

The ban on flying over these sites is in addition to previous flight restrictions the FAA has imposed throughout the US.

FAA Administrator Jane F. Garvey said the FAA realizes these restrictions inconvenience general aviation pilots and airports. But, “we look for the understanding and cooperation of the general aviation community,” she said.

Earlier the agency warned general aviation pilots operating under visual flight rules to avoid circling or loitering over nuclear and other electric power plants, power distribution facilities, dams, reservoirs, refineries, and military installations, without authorization of air traffic controllers.

The restrictions underscore US Atty. Gen. General John Ashcroft’s warning Monday of “credible reports” another major terrorist attack could be possible within the week. Ashcroft said he couldn’t be more specific.

The FBI said its information did not identify specific targets, but it asked local police to be on the highest alert and for all Americans to be wary of suspicious activity.

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