AOPA is continuing to push the federal government for more timely, reasonable, and understandable notams establishing presidential-movement temporary flight restrictions (TFRs). Pilots in the Pacific Northwest are the latest caught in the TFR snare. And if it hadn't been for AOPA's quick action, there would have been no-fly zones 60 nautical miles in diameter around Redmond and Sunriver, Oregon.
(To receive automatic e-mail alerts of presidential TFRs in your area, sign up for AOPA ePilot.)
"The presidential-movement notams for the Redmond area were almost impossible to decipher," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "AOPA staff spent hours poring over these complex notams and couldn't understand what pilots were expected to do.
"And it was no wonder. We found some of the notams had missing text and errors, including incorrect latitude/longitude coordinates. The FAA reissued some of the notams multiple times after we pointed out the errors, including a no-fly zone that covered nine times more surface area than it should have," Boyer said.
For example, the FAA reissued the notam for Redmond and Sunriver, Oregon, four times as AOPA staff caught errors and asked questions. Perhaps the most egregious error was original notam language that inadvertently created two absolute no-fly zones for general aviation, 30-nm radius. (Presidential TFRs typically have an inner, 10-nm-ring area prohibiting all GA flight, but GA aircraft "squawking and talking" on flight plans are allowed to fly directly to and from airports within the 10-30 nm area.)
"If AOPA's technical staff, who look at notams with a magnifying glass every day, has these kind of problems, how in the world can the FAA and security officials expect pilots to understand and comply with the TFRs?" Boyer continued. "It's saying the obvious, but apparently we have to: Notams must be timely, accurate, and understandable."
AOPA is urging pilots to write to President Bush and tell him about the impact his visit has had on your flying. Please send a copy to AOPA. Letters or faxes are generally more effective than e-mails.
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
In addition, AOPA is collecting pilot reports of operational difficulties involving presidential TFRs. To submit a report, simply fill out the form on AOPA Online.