FAA finds reasonable solution to Cape Cod summer air traffic jam

May 1, 2003

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION
CAPE TRACON
BUILDING 130
OTIS ANGB, MA 02542

ISSUED: May 1, 2003 EFFECTIVE: June 1, 2003

CAPE TRACON LETTER TO AIRMEN 03-01

SUBJECT: Summer Flying in the Vicinity of Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha's Vineyard

CANCELLATION: May 31, 2005

The intent of this Letter to Airmen is to advise aircraft operators of the seasonal considerations of flying around Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket from May through September.

Historically the traffic volume and demand for services for Cape TRACON increases during the summer months. Coinciding with these increases is an increase in the number of inclement weather and IFR condition days. Historically verified heavy demand periods for summer traffic are as follows:

  • Fridays from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. EST
  • Sundays from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. EST
  • Mondays from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. EST

The combination of IFR weather conditions and increases in the demand for air traffic services will sometimes cause a significant delay in your ability to obtain an IFR clearance to Nantucket (ACK), Martha's Vineyard (MVY), or Hyannis (HYA) airports. To assist you in minimizing your potential for significant delays, it is strongly recommended that you try to plan your arrival and departure times when the demand for services is lower.

To minimize the impact of delays to ACK, Cape TRACON will be utilizing various traffic management initiatives. These initiatives include, but are not limited to, a miles-in-trail (MIT) aircraft spacing program and a Special Traffic Management Program (STMP). Both programs are designed to allow for a safer, more orderly flow to ACK. The STMP will be used for ACK arrival aircraft. A STMP may be implemented to enhance safety and minimize air traffic delays during time periods that the traffic volume is expected to exceed the ACK arrival capacity. It is suggested that you check the available NOTAMs to see if there is an STMP procedure in effect. If it is utilized, the STMP will be activated, by NOTAM, at approximately 1800 EDST the evening prior to the affected day. The STMP procedure is outlined in detail in the Notices to Airmen book.

Cape TRACON is often unable to issue IFR clearances to airborne aircraft during the summer months due to the increase in traffic demand and inclement weather conditions. There is also a possibility that air-filed flight plans will not be accepted or issued to aircraft flying into Cape TRACON airspace under VFR conditions. Rapidly changing weather conditions associated with Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha's Vineyard indicate that all pilots should be prepared to encounter IFR weather during the summer months. On the ground at non-controlled airports, you may obtain your clearance through BDR FSS via 1-800/WX-BRIEF or through available remote communication outlets (RCOs) associated with the departure airport.

Clearances may be obtained prior to departure for Cape TRACON's uncontrolled airports on the following frequencies:

AIRPORT FREQUENCY
Plymouth 127.75
Provincetown 120.65
Chatham 127.3

____________________________
Francis A. MacDonald, Jr.
Air Traffic Manager; Cape Terminal Radar Approach Control