The temporary flight restriction (TFR) area to be imposed over the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles August 14-17 will not be unnecessarily restrictive for most general aviation pilots, thanks to efforts of the Southern California Airspace Users Working Group and local FAA planners.
"AOPA has been encouraging the FAA to work with local pilots in designing airspace," said Dennis Roberts, AOPA vice president and executive director of government and technical affairs. "This TFR is an example of reasonable compromise among people who know and use the airspace, not a directive handed down by Washington bureaucrats."
The lateral dimensions and altitudes of the TFR will be identical to that imposed for the last Democratic National Convention, held in Atlanta in 1996. Many pilots had feared a much more restrictive design would be imposed in the wake of last year's World Trade Organization riots in Seattle. A more extensive airspace area was imposed over Washington, D.C., during a subsequent WTO meeting in that city.
The TFR will be centered on the Staples Center, the convention site near downtown Los Angeles. It will extend to a five-nautical-mile radius and include airspace from the surface to 10,000 feet msl. The TFR will be effective from noon to midnight local time, although officials urge pilots to check notams regularly in case events dictate extension of those hours.
Aeronautically, the Staples Center is on the 036-degree radial of the Los Angeles (LAX) Vortac at 10.4 DME, or latitude 34 02 52 north, longitude 118 16 07 west.
No practice instrument approaches or sightseeing flight requests will be accepted by ATC when the TFR is effective. Entry into the area will be afforded only to aircraft on IFR flight plans, pre-briefed law enforcement and news media aircraft, and medical emergency flights. A telephone number for TFR entry requests will be published by notam at a later date.
Roberts also pointed out that portions of the Los Angeles Class B airspace lie within the temporary restricted area. Pilots should not confuse an ATC Class B clearance with authorization to penetrate the restricted area. Likewise, special permission to enter the temporary restricted area will not constitute a clearance to operate in Class B airspace.
"This is a short-term airspace configuration in an area that can be confusing for itinerant pilots anyway," Roberts said. "Even though it's not unduly complicated, it still presents an opportunity to run afoul of the federal aviation regulations."
Information on the TFR for the Democratic National Convention is available on the AOPA Web site.
The more than 360,000-member Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, founded in 1939, represents over half of all active pilots in the United States.
June 23, 2000