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Air Defense Identification Zone

Introduction:

  • national security in the control of air traffic is governed by 14 CFR Part 99
  • An Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) is an area of airspace in the vicinity of U.S. boundaries, over land or water, in which the ready identification, location, and control of all aircraft (except Department of Defense and law enforcement aircraft) is required in the interest of national security
    • All aircraft must meet certain requirements to facilitate early identification when operating into, within, and across an ADIZ, as described in 14 CFR 99
  • The different types of ADIZ are areas of airspace over land or water (domestic/coastal), extends upward from the surface, within which the ready identification, the location, and the control of aircraft are required
  • ADIZ dimensions are depicted on aeronautical charts for easy of identification
  • Operations are permitted within these areas provided certain requirements are met (with some exception)
  • The location and operations within this airspace must be understood as violations can result in consequences for the pilot
AeroNav ADIZ Sectional Legend
Figure 1: AeroNav ADIZ Sectional Legend

National Security:

  • All aircraft entering domestic U.S. airspace from points outside must provide for identification prior to entry
  • National security in the control of air traffic is governed by 14 CFR Part 99
  • Except when applicable under 14 CFR Section 99.7, 14 CFR Part 99 does not apply to aircraft operations:
    • Within the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia, or within the State of Alaska, and remains within 10 miles of the point of departure;
    • Over any island, or within three nautical miles of the coastline of any island, in the Hawaii ADIZ; or
    • Associated with any ADIZ other than the Contiguous U.S. ADIZ, when the aircraft true airspeed is less than 180 knots
  • Authorizations to deviate from the requirements of Part 99 may also be granted by the ARTCC, on a local basis, for some operations associated with an ADIZ
  • An air filed VFR Flight Plan makes an aircraft subject to interception for positive identification when entering an ADIZ. Pilots are, therefore, urged to file the required DVFR flight plan either in person or by telephone prior to departure
  • Special Security Instructions:
    • Each person operating an aircraft in an ADIZ or Defense Area must, in addition to the applicable rules of part 99, comply with special security instructions issued by the Administrator in the interest of national security, pursuant to agreement between the FAA and the Department of Defense, or between the FAA and a U.S. Federal security or intelligence agency
    • Defense Area means any airspace of the contiguous United States that is not an ADIZ in which the control of aircraft is required for reasons of national security
  • Emergency Security Control of Air Traffic (ESCAT)
    • During defense emergency or air defense emergency conditions, additional special security instructions may be issued in accordance with 32 CFR 245 Plan for the Emergency Security Control of Air Traffic (ESCAT)
    • Under the provisions of 32 CFR 245, the military will direct the action to be taken in regard to landing, grounding, diversion, or dispersal of aircraft and the control of air navigation aids in the defense of the U.S. during emergency conditions
    • At the time a portion or all of ESCAT is implemented, ATC facilities will broadcast appropriate instructions received from the Air Traffic Control System Command Center (ATCSCC) over available ATC frequencies. Depending on instructions received from the ATCSCC, VFR flights may be directed to land at the nearest available airport, and IFR flights will be expected to proceed as directed by ATC
    • Pilots on the ground may be required to file a flight plan and obtain an approval (through FAA) prior to conducting flight operation
    • In view of the above, all pilots should monitor an ATC or FSS frequency at all times while conducting flight operations
  • National Security Requirements:

    • Pursuant to 14 CFR 99.7, Special Security Instructions, each person operating an aircraft in an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) or Defense Area must, in addition to the applicable rules of Part 99, comply with special security instructions issued by the FAA Administrator in the interest of national security, pursuant to agreement between the FAA and the Department of Defense (DOD), or between the FAA and a U.S. Federal security or intelligence agency
    • In addition to the requirements prescribed in this section, national security requirements for aircraft operations to or from, within, or transiting U.S. territorial airspace are in effect pursuant to 14 CFR 99.7; 49 United States Code (USC) 40103, Sovereignty and Use of Airspace; and 49 USC 41703, Navigation of Foreign Civil Aircraft. Aircraft operations to or from, within, or transiting U.S. territorial airspace must also comply with all other applicable regulations published in 14 CFR
    • Due to increased security measures in place at many areas, pilots must become familiar with all information pertaining to the flight as part of preflight action
      • Pilots are responsible to comply with all appropriate Temporary Flight Restrictions and NOTAMs during flight planning
      • In addition, NOTAMs may be issued for National Security Areas (NSA) that temporarily prohibit flight operations
    • Pilots of aircraft that do not adhere to the procedures in the national security requirements for aircraft operations may be denied flight entry, intercepted, and/or detained and interviewed by federal, state, or local law enforcement or other government personnel

Types of Air Defense Identification Zones:

  • There are several types of Air Defense Identification Zones
  • Their names generally explain the purpose of the particular ADIZ however, its more important you recognize them all as general subsets of the important category that is an ADIZ
  • Domestic Air Defense Identification Zone:

    • An ADIZ within the United States along an international boundary of the United States
  • Coastal Air Defense Identification Zone:

    • An ADIZ over the coastal waters of the United States
  • Distant Early Warning Identification Zone (DEWIZ):

    • An ADIZ over the coastal waters of the State of Alaska
  • Land−Based Air Defense Identification Zone:

    • An ADIZ over U.S. metropolitan areas, which is activated and deactivated as needed, with dimensions, activation dates and other relevant information disseminated via NOTAM

ADIZ Dimensions:

  • ADIZ Dimensions can be determine by visually looking at a map, but more precisely, by referencing FAR 99 Subpart B [Figure 2]

ADIZ Depiction:

ADIZ Sectional Legend
Figure 2: ADIZ Sectional Legend

ADIZ Operational Requirements:

  • Flight Plan:

    • Except as outlined below operations into, within, or from a departure point within an ADIZ require the person files, activates, and closes a flight plan with the appropriate aeronautical facility (FSS), or is otherwise authorized by air traffic control as follows:
      • Pilots must file an Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) flight plan or file a Defense Visual Flight Rules (DVFR) containing the time and point of ADIZ penetration
      • The pilot must activate the DVFR flight plan with U.S. Flight Service and set the aircraft transponder to the assigned discrete beacon code prior to entering the ADIZ
      • The IFR or DVFR aircraft must depart within five minutes of the estimated departure time contained in the flight plan
        • If the airport of departure within the Alaskan ADIZ has no facility for filing a flight plan, the flight plan must be filed immediately after takeoff or when within range of an appropriate aeronautical facility
      • State aircraft (U.S. or foreign) planning to operate through an ADIZ should enter ICAO Code M in Item 8 of the flight plan to assist in identification of the aircraft as a state aircraft
    • The estimated time of ADIZ penetration must be filed with the facility at least 15 minutes prior to penetration of the ADIZ except in Alaska which only requires a report prior to entry
    • ICAO VFR flight plans must include in the transmitted line 18 "other information" section: DVFR/estimated United States ADIZ penetration at time (UTC) and estimated point of penetration (latitude/longitude or fix-radial-distance)
  • Two-way Radio:

    • A person who operates a civil aircraft into an ADIZ must have a functioning two-way radio, and the pilot must maintain a continuous listening watch on the appropriate aeronautical facility's frequency
      • The appropriate aeronautical facility can be found by finding the ARTCC frequency for the area you're operating on any aeronautical chart
    • If the pilot operating an aircraft under DVFR in an ADIZ cannot maintain two-way radio communications, the pilot may proceed, in accordance with original DVFR flight plan, or land as soon as practicable
      • The pilot must report the radio failure to an appropriate aeronautical facility as soon as possible
    • If a pilot operating an aircraft under IFR in an ADIZ cannot maintain two-way radio communications, the pilot must proceed in accordance with FAR 91.185 of this chapter
  • Transponder Requirements:

    • Unless otherwise authorized by ATC, each aircraft conducting operations into, within, or across the Contiguous U.S. ADIZ must be equipped with an operable radar beacon transponder having altitude reporting capability, and that transponder must be turned on and set to reply on the appropriate code or as assigned by ATC. (See 14 CFR 99.13, Transponder−On Requirements, for additional information)
      • Balloons, gliders and aircraft not equipped with an engine driven electrical system are excepted from this requirement
    • Normal squawk code for VFR flight will remain at 1200, unless otherwise assigned
  • Position Reporting:

    • IFR flight in controlled airspace:

      • The pilot must maintain a continuous watch on the appropriate frequency and report the time and altitude of passing each designated reporting point or those reporting points specified or requested by ATC, except that while the aircraft is under radar control, only the passing of those reporting points specifically requested by ATC need be reported. (See Normal IFR position reporting) for more information
    • DVFR flights and IFR flights in uncontrolled airspace:

      • The time, position, and altitude at which the aircraft passed the last reporting point before penetration and the estimated time of arrival over the next appropriate reporting point along the flight route;
      • If there is no appropriate reporting point along the flight route, the pilot reports at least 15 minutes before penetration: the estimated time, position, and altitude at which the pilot will penetrate; or
      • If the departure airport is within an ADIZ or so close to the ADIZ boundary that it prevents the pilot from complying with transponder/radio/flight plan requirements above, the pilot must report immediately after departure: the time of departure, the altitude, and the estimated time of arrival over the first reporting point along the flight route
  • Foreign civil aircraft:

    • If the pilot of a foreign civil aircraft that intends to enter the U.S. through an ADIZ cannot comply with position reporting requirements, as applicable, the pilot must report the position of the aircraft to the appropriate aeronautical facility not less than 1 hour and not more than 2 hours average direct cruising distance from the U.S.
  • Land−Based ADIZ:

    • Land−Based ADIZ are activated and deactivated over U.S. metropolitan areas as needed, with dimensions, activation dates and other relevant information disseminated via NOTAM
      • Pilots unable to comply with all NOTAM requirements must remain clear of Land−Based ADIZ
      • Pilots entering a Land−Based ADIZ without authorization or who fail to follow all requirements risk interception by military fighter aircraft
  • If operating under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR), you do not need to file anything other than an IFR Flight Plan
Coastal Air Defense Identification Zone
Figure 3: Coastal Air Defense Identification Zone

Exceptions:

  • Except when applicable under 14 CFR Section 99.7, 14 CFR Part 99 does not apply to aircraft operations:
    • Within the 48 contiguous States or within the State of Alaska, on a flight which remains within 10 NM of the point of departure;
    • Operating at true airspeed of less than 180 knots in the Hawaii ADIZ or over any island, or within 12 NM of the coastline of any island, in the Hawaii ADIZ;
    • Operating at true airspeed of less than 180 knots in the Alaska ADIZ while the pilot maintains a continuous listening watch on the appropriate frequency; or
    • Operating at true airspeed of less than 180 knots in the Guam ADIZ
  • Authorizations to deviate from the requirements of Part 99 may also be granted by the ARTCC, on a local basis, for some operations associated with an ADIZ
  • An airfiled VFR Flight Plan makes an aircraft subject to interception for positive identification when entering an ADIZ. Pilots are, therefore, urged to file the required DVFR flight plan either in person or by telephone prior to departure
  • Special Security Instructions:
    • During defense emergency or air defense emergency conditions, additional special security instructions may be issued in accordance with the Emergency Security Control of Air Traffic (ESCAT) Plan
    • Under the provisions of the ESCAT Plan, the military will direct the action to be taken in regard to landing, grounding, diversion, or dispersal of aircraft and the control of air navigation aids in the defense of the U.S. during emergency conditions
    • At the time a portion or all of ESCAT is implemented, ATC facilities will broadcast appropriate instructions received from theAir Traffic Control System Command Center (ATCSCC) over available ATC frequencies. Depending on instructions received from the ATCSCC, VFR flights may be directed to land at the nearest available airport, and IFR flights will be expected to proceed as directed by ATC
    • Pilots on the ground may be required to file a flight plan and obtain an approval (through FAA) prior to conducting flight operation
    • In view of the above, all pilots should guard an ATC or FSS frequency at all times while conducting flight operations
  • An FAA air route traffic control center (ARTCC) may exempt certain aircraft operations on a local basis in concurrence with the DOD or pursuant to an agreement with a U.S. Federal security or intelligence agency:
    • Aircraft operations that are conducted wholly within the boundaries of an ADIZ and are not currently significant to the air defense system
    • Aircraft operations conducted in accordance with special procedures prescribed by a U.S. military authority, or a U.S. Federal security or intelligence agency concerned
  • A VFR flight plan filed inflight makes an aircraft subject to interception for positive identification when entering an ADIZ. Pilots are therefore urged to file the required DVFR flight plan either in person or by telephone prior to departure when able
Air Defense Identification Zone Boundaries Designated Mountainous Areas
Figure 4: Air Defense Identification Zone Boundaries Designated Mountainous Areas

Violation of ADIZ Airspace:

Advance Passenger Information System (APIS):

  • The Electronic Advance Passenger Information System (eAPIS) is a Web-based interface designed by CBP, for international travel into and out of the U.S. See the CBP online web-based training for additional information
  • The main objective of this program is to obtain a passenger and crew manifest for every aircraft entering or departing the U.S.
  • The information must be received by the CBP no less than 60 minutes prior to takeoff for flights departing from or arriving in the U.S.
  • APIS will take the place of Customs Form 708; however, revenue flights are required to fill out Form 7507 (General Declaration). Each person on an inbound flight will have to submit Form 6059B (individual declaration card)
  • The U.S. CBP Guide for Private Flyers (PDF) is available online. It contains information on current CBP policies, regulations, and requirements as well as links to pertinent information for the international pilot

Civil Aircraft Operations To or From U.S. Territorial Airspace:

  • Civil aircraft, except as described below, are authorized to operate to or from U.S. territorial airspace if in compliance with all of the following conditions:
    • File and are on an active flight plan (IFR, VFR, or DVFR);
    • Are equipped with an operational transponder with altitude reporting capability, and continuously squawk an ATC assigned transponder code;
    • Maintain two-way radio communications with ATC;
    • Comply with all other applicable ADIZ requirements and any other national security requirements
    • Comply with all applicable U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) requirements, including Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) requirements (see subparagraph 5−6−5c below for CBP APIS information), in accordance with 19 CFR Part 122, Air Commerce Regulations; and
    • Are in receipt of, and are operating in accordance with, an FAA routing authorization if the aircraft is registered in a U.S. State Department-designated special interest country or is operating with the ICAO three letter designator (3LD) of a company in a country listed as a U.S. State Department-designated special interest country, unless the operator holds valid FAA Part 129 operations specifications. VFR and DVFR flight operations are prohibited for any aircraft requiring an FAA routing authorization. (See paragraph 5−6−11 for FAA routing authorization information)
  • Civil aircraft registered in the U.S., Canada, or Mexico with a maximum certificated takeoff gross weight of 100,309 pounds (45,500 kgs) or less that are operating without an operational transponder, and/or the ability to maintain two-way radio communications with ATC, are authorized to operate to or from U.S. territorial airspace over Alaska if in compliance with all of the following conditions:
    • Depart and land at an airport within the U.S. or Canada;
    • Enter or exit U.S. territorial airspace over Alaska north of the fifty-fourth parallel;
    • File and are on an active flight plan;
    • Comply with all other applicable ADIZ requirements and any other national security requirements
    • Squawk 1200 if VFR and equipped with a transponder; and
    • Comply with all applicable U.S. CBP requirements, including Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) requirements (see subparagraph 5−6−5c below for CBP APIS information), in accordance with 19 CFR Part 122, Air Commerce Regulations
  • CBP APIS Information. Information about U.S. CBP APIS requirements is available at http://www.cbp.gov

Civil Aircraft Operations Within U.S. Territorial Airspace:

  • Civil aircraft with a maximum certificated takeoff gross weight less than or equal to 100,309 pounds (45,500 kgs) are authorized to operate within U.S. territorial airspace in accordance with all applicable regulations and VFR in airport traffic pattern areas of U.S. airports near the U.S. border, except as below
  • Civil aircraft with a maximum certificated takeoff gross weight less than or equal to 100,309 pounds (45,500 kgs) and registered in a U.S. State Department-designated special interest country or operating with the ICAO 3LD of a company in a country listed as a U.S. State Department-designated special interest country, unless the operator holds valid FAA Part 129 operations specifications, must operate within U.S. territorial airspace in accordance with the same requirements as civil aircraft with a maximum certificated takeoff gross weight greater than 100,309 pounds (45,500 kgs)
  • Civil aircraft with a maximum certificated takeoff gross weight greater than 100,309 pounds (45,500 kgs) are authorized to operate within U.S. territorial airspace if in compliance with all of the following conditions:
    • File and are on an active flight plan (IFR or VFR);
    • Equipped with an operational transponder with altitude reporting capability, and continuously squawk an ATC assigned transponder code;
    • Maintain two-way radio communications with ATC;
    • Aircraft not registered in the U.S. must operate under an approved Transportation Security Administration (TSA) aviation security program (see paragraph 5−6−10 for TSA aviation security program information) or in accordance with an FAA/TSA airspace waiver (see paragraph 5−6−9 for FAA/TSA airspace waiver information), except as authorized in 5−6−6c6. below;
    • Are in receipt of, and are operating in accordance with an FAA routing authorization and an FAA/TSA airspace waiver if the aircraft is registered in a U.S. State Department-designated special interest country or is operating with the ICAO 3LD of a company in a country listed as a U.S. State Department-designated special interest country, unless the operator holds valid FAA Part 129 operations specifications. VFR and DVFR flight operations are prohibited for any aircraft requiring an FAA routing authorization. (See paragraph 5−6−11 for FAA routing authorization information.); and
      • Aircraft not registered in the U.S., when conducting post-maintenance, manufacturer, production, or acceptance flight test operations, are exempt from these requirements if all of the following requirements are met:
        • A U.S. company must have operational control of the aircraft;
        • An FAA−certificated pilot must serve as pilot in command;
        • Only crewmembers are permitted onboard the aircraft; and
        • "Maintenance Flight" is included in the remarks section of the flight plan

Conclusion:

  • Pilots of aircraft entering the United States through an ADIZ are required to comply with the provisions of 14 CFR Sections 99.17 and 99.19
  • Note that ADIZ locations and operating and flight plan requirements for civil aircraft operations are specified in 14 CFR Part 99
  • Operators may submit requests for FAA/TSA airspace waivers at https://waivers.faa.gov by selecting “international” as the waiver type
  • Never forget to check NOTAMS, more specifically, international NOTAMS
  • And finally as always, don't forget to close any flight plan you open!

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