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Special aircraft arrival procedures set for AOPA Expo 2002, October 24-26 in Palm Springs, CaliforniaSpecial aircraft arrival procedures set for AOPA Expo 2002, October 24-26 in Palm Springs, California

AOPA's Expo 2002 is fast approaching, with its popular Parade of Planes, 80 aviation seminars, and sold-out convention floor with some 500 vendors showing their wares.

Pilots need to begin planning their arrivals now.

Special arrival procedures will be in effect for Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) and Desert Resorts Regional Airport (TRM), the two host airports, for AOPA Expo 2002. Pilots arriving at any of the Palm Springs-area airports (PSP, TRM, or UDD, Bermuda Dunes Airport) on an IFR flight plan will be required to request a slot reservation. VFR arrival procedures will be in effect for both PSP and TRM.

"As pilots who live in the area or who attended AOPA Expo in Long Beach two years ago know, Southern California has some of the most complex airspace in the country," said AOPA Vice President for Aviation Services Woody Cahall. "We cannot stress strongly enough how important it is that any pilot flying into Expo thoroughly understand the arrival procedures and have both a current sectional and a copy of the procedures readily available in the cockpit."

Because of the limited number of IFR slot reservations available, IFR traffic can expect substantial delays. VFR arrivals are preferred. Weather around Palm Springs in late October is generally conducive to VFR flight.

IFR slot reservations will be available beginning at 0600 PDT on Monday, October 21, 2002, but will not be assigned more than 72 hours in advance. Reservations may be made either via Internet or by telephone using the Computerized Voice Reservation System (800/875-9755) and following the prompts. The reservation confirmation number must be included in the remarks section of your flight plan.

The VFR arrival procedures for both airports are available by notam, and in text and graphic format on AOPA Online.

In general, traffic from the west will overfly Banning Airport (BNG) and follow Interstate 10 east before turning north, then skirting the foothills to the southeast. From the south, pilots should approach across the Salton Sea. Traffic from the east, northeast, and north will generally approach via the Chiriaco Summit. Traffic from the north needs to be aware of Restricted Area 2501, 30 nm northeast of PSP. Again, it is imperative that pilots be thoroughly familiar with the appropriate procedure, available by notam and from AOPA Online.

Terrain is a factor in all areas. Maintain a safe altitude. Lower altitudes should be available after crossing the reporting points inbound. Arrivals into Palm Springs International from the south are expected to remain well above the traffic patterns of Desert Resorts Regional (TRM) and Bermuda Dunes Airport (UDD).

The control tower and VFR arrival procedures at Palm Springs International will be operational 0600-2300 PDT October 23 through October 27. It will be important to monitor the PSP ATIS as it may contain updated information on saturation and aircraft parking availability at all airports during the event.

After landing at PSP, do not stop on the runway. You will be cleared to one of the visitor parking areas where an attendant will direct you to your parking spot. Please be familiar with the airport layout and go to the parking area as directed. You will not be able to choose the FBO.

A temporary control tower will operate at Desert Resorts Regional Airport October 24 through October 26. VFR arrival procedures and the temporary FAA control tower will be operational 0800-1600 PDT each of the three days. After landing, do not stop on the runway. Arrivals need to exit the runways as quickly as practical and not stop until they have crossed the hold lines. Aircraft parking will be sectioned off. You will be cleared to one of the visitor parking areas where an attendant will direct you to your parking spot.

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