July 1, 2010
AOPA ePublishing staff
Las Vegas will essentially be closed to general aviation pilots trying to fly into the area for parts of July 8 and 9. A 19-hour presidential temporary flight restriction will shut down all three major GA airports in the area: McCarran International, Henderson Executive, and North Las Vegas.
AOPA President Craig Fuller has reached out to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano once again to reiterate the negative economic impact these TFRs have on the local economies and the need for GA to be represented in the TFR planning process.
Reminding Napolitano of the negative economic and public safety effects of the presidential TFR over Chicago during Memorial Day weekend, Fuller wrote that “Unfortunately, the proposed TFR for Las Vegas will have an even greater impact on the local community, effectively shutting down all access for GA aircraft into the seventh busiest region of the country.
“In February 2010, a much less restrictive TFR was established over the Las Vegas area that resulted in a loss of commerce in excess of $700,000. With all three airports in the Las Vegas area off limits to GA aircraft, this TFR will have a much larger impact.”
The TFR will prohibit local aerial tour operators, including those who provide overflights of the Grand Canyon, from conducting business during one of their busiest times of the year.
In the past, presidential TFRs had included cutouts for flight training and other local operations and gateway airports that permitted pilots who went through security checks to fly into and out of the TFR. The TFR over Las Vegas offers no such mitigation.
The 30-nautical-mile-radius TFR will be in effect from 4:30 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time on July 8 until 11:30 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time on July 9. An inner 10-nm-radius GA no-fly zone encompasses all three of the major GA airports, completely shutting them down to GA traffic—VFR and IFR—for 19 hours. The City Hall Complex Heliport, University Medical Center-Southern Nevada Heliport, and Voc Tech Heliport also lie within the no-fly zone.
“AOPA understands the complexities involved in security planning in today’s environment. We make every effort to educate our members about possible airspace restrictions,” Fuller said. “However, a blanket prohibition over the Las Vegas area for 19 hours will impose unnecessary economic hardships on a region that has already been disproportionately impacted. We urge you to reconsider the restrictions contained in this TFR and work with stakeholders and other federal agencies to develop alternative procedures that will ensure the necessary security of the President, without unduly restricting general aviation aircraft.”
FAA Systems and Airspace,
Advocacy and Legislation,
The General Aviation Pilot Protection Act would allow pilots to use the driver’s license medical standard for noncommercial VFR flights in aircraft weighing up to 6,000 pounds with no more than six seats, as long as they carry fewer than five passengers, fly below 14,000 feet msl, and fly no faster than 250 knots.
The Civil Aviation Medical Association is objecting to the FAA's proposed sleep apnea policy, warning that the evidence doesn't justify the approach.
Pilots have formed a user group and launched a petition drive to save Runway 5/23 at Joplin Regional Airport in Joplin, Mo.
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.