July 19, 2013
By Dan Namowitz
The world’s fastest boats are being sailed by the world’s best sailors in pursuit of “the oldest trophy in sport with a rich history dating back to 1851” this summer, says the home page of the America’s Cup races, now under way in California on San Francisco Bay.
An event of that magnitude calls on pilots to be thoroughly prepared to conduct flights safely and according to required procedures in the vicinity, located in already-complex northern California airspace. From complying with any temporary flight restrictions to being aware of airspace classes and requirements in and near San Francisco and Oakland, pilots should stay informed of changing operational requirements.
Check notams often, and review the local VFR terminal area chart before flights.
Pilots should also be vigilant for extensive helicopter activity over the race course and above the city of San Francisco at and below 1,500 feet agl.
The races will take place, generally, between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. (Pacific Daylight Time) daily according to this schedule, on a race course that runs along the northern shoreline of San Francisco (south of Alcatraz Island) from The Presidio (the Golden Gate National Recreation Area) to Treasure Island.
Several classes of airspace overlie the course, including Class G airspace from the surface to 700 feet agl, and Class E airspace from 700 feet agl, to the overlying San Francisco Class B airspace floor of 3,000 feet msl, as well as the outer ring of Oakland Class C airspace with a 1,500-foot msl floor.
Pilots also should check notams for an airshow scheduled as one of many nonracing events to take place during the America’s Cup. A TFR expected to be in effect while the aviation event is in progress.
The boat races will conclude Sept. 21 with the America’s Cup Finals.
The airport’s FBO, Indy Jet; Indianapolis-area EAA chapters; and the Indianapolis Aviation Authority are working with AOPA to make the May 31 fly-in an event to remember.
Over the 75 years since AOPA’s founding, its principal goal has been to prevent GA from suffering a fate analogous to Bambi’s. Yes, AOPA’s charter gives the association three main goals: to make flying easier, safer, and more fun.
AOPA urges California’s Department of Parks and Recreation to withdraw a proposal that would impose minimum aircraft flying altitudes over California state parks.
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