July 16, 2013
By Benét J. Wilson
As fire season continues, general aviation pilots are reminded to be aware of and prepare for temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) during the pre-flight process. Flying near forest fires can create great danger to a GA pilot, and not planning ahead of the flight can leave pilots in danger of penetrating TFRs.
Pilots flying near an area with potential wildfires should do the following: obtain a complete pre-flight briefing; check notams prior to flight; be vigilant in parts of the country where wild fires occur; and visit the FAA's website for graphical TFR depictions.
There has been a reported uptick in GA pilots violating firefighting TFRs, so members are advised to plan accordingly. “We want pilots to make sure they are aware of how to prepare for firefighting TFRs as part of their pre-flight planning to ensure pilots remain out of harm’s way,” said Melissa McCaffrey, AOPA senior government analyst of air traffic services.
The size of a firefighting TFR can vary depending upon the extent of fire, so pilots should leave plenty of room from a TFR, as smoke and other hazards can drift beyond boundaries and put them in danger.
Advocacy and Legislation,
FAA Systems and Airspace,
Pilot Safety and Skills
For pilots, the 60,000-plus-member Civil Air Patrol readily comes to mind when an aerial role in a rescue is launched.
AOPA is looking to the Michigan Senate for “refinement” of proposals amended unfavorably in last-minute House action.
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.
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.