November 29, 2012
By Jim Moore
As NFL teams prepare for the final push to the playoffs, pilots, air traffic control officials, and airport operators are making their own Super Bowl XLVII plans. Airports in and around New Orleans are expecting a huge boost in activity from Jan. 31 to Feb. 4, and the FAA has issued a notice detailing special procedures that will be in effect.
The temporary flight restriction will be published a few days in advance, among the special rules and procedures designed to enhance security as football fans converge on the Big Easy. Radio communications and transponder codes will be mandatory, and detailed in notams to come; aircraft parking may also be at a premium, with advance reservations strongly suggested.
Located about 20 minutes from the New Orleans Mercedes-Benz Super Dome, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport will be welcoming general aviation as well as commercial flights. Atlantic Aviation—one of two FBOs at that airport—is planning a party with food, big screen televisions, and door prizes, according to the New Orleans Super Bowl Host Committee, and reservations are now being taken.
Special arrival and departure routes have been established for seven airports in and around New Orleans, including Lakefront Airport.
The FAA notes that instrument flight plans should be filed at least four hours in advance, and airfiles or non-emergency in-flight diversions to the seven airports listed in the notice will not be accepted during the Super Bowl period. Pilots should plan for possible holds, or ground delays, and re-check notams prior to departure. Special procedures, such as exact departure time clearances, may be implemented if traffic volume exceeds capacity at a given airport.
AOPA Online Associate Editor Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot who enjoys competition aerobatics.
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