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Thu, Sep 15, 2016

AeroSports Update: Know Your NOTAMs And TFRs

It’s Important To Know Where You Are Not Allowed To Fly

If you try telling a police officer that you didn’t know the speed limit and are, therefore, not guilty of speeding, you won’t get very far. The same holds true about NOTAMs and TFRs. They are readily available, and an excuse that you simply didn’t know won’t help you if the FAA takes action.

NOTAM’s contain all sorts of information, and the ones that are talked about a lot are Temporary Flight Restrictions (TRF). With the football season in high gear, TFR’s can be spread out all over the place where games are taking place. However there’s much more to it than that. Anytime you fly, to any airport, there’s a potential that some NOTAM could affect your operation. It could be as simple to a lighting system being out of order (in the daytime, who cares?) or it may be as important as a runway being closed.

Sometimes NOTAMs and TFRs can pop up with almost no notice. An example of this would be a NOTAM issued for a disaster area such as a large brushfire or some other natural cause that requires exclusive airspace protection.

And don’t forget, with all the craziness of the upcoming election season, there can be NOTAMs and TFRs posted for political events and rallies. With the election being less than 60 days away, you can expect to see some wild looking TFR’s that cover a lot of territory. These can be particularly confusing because they could be “moving TFR’s” that actually follow the candidates if they fly to one location, but drive to another. If you think trying to talk your way out of a speeding ticket is tricky, try explaining a Presidential TFR violation to the Secret Service!

You have to know when and where TFR’s and NOTAMs are located, and how they will affect your operation. Many computerized navigation programs provide automated NOTAM and TFR notification, but relying on a computer to communicate the information is not always the wisest decision. Remember, these computerized applications only know what they’ve been told, and there is no record that you looked at them.

By far, the safest way to know about NOTAMs and TFRs is to check with flight service before flying. Remember, not every call to flight service has to be a complete preflight briefing. You can simply let the briefer know that all you want is NOTAM and TFR information for your route flight. The briefer logs this request for information and a record is kept of what you were told. This is the best way to keep your “6 o’clock” covered.

(Image from File)

FMI: www.faa.gov

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