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Bedminster TFR incursions continuingBedminster TFR incursions continuing

‘Best practices’ can help you steer clear‘Best practices’ can help you steer clear

Editor's note: This article was updated on July 25 to remove a reference to an outdated temporary flight restriction.

Pilots committed more than 30 airspace incursions and triggered five intercepts in seven days during two recent visits by President Donald Trump to his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey. More temporary flight restrictions will be in effect in the area at least into September, security officials informed AOPA when expressing concern about the violations.

President Donald Trump on the Marine One helicopter on Sept. 27, 2017. Photo by Jonathan Ernst, Reuters.

AOPA strongly urges pilots to check notices to airmen frequently before flight, and while in flight to stay alert for changes to airspace dimensions and active TFR times that can go into effect with little or no notice.

TFRs are subject to sudden or unexpected alteration, so even pilots who are conscientious about checking airspace status for a proposed or continuing flight could be at risk of committing an inadvertent incursion—especially if their method of monitoring airspace status is flawed.

A 2016 report from RTCA’s Tactical Operations Committee, on which AOPA participates, to the FAA, proposed a variety of ways to mitigate that risk. The report, Improving Graphical Temporary Flight Restrictions in the National Airspace System, offered a set of nine best practices for pilots to follow during preflight preparation, and nine best practices for the in-flight period, to maintain TFR awareness.

“The best practices include checking notams before every flight—even short local flights,” said Nobuyo Sakata, AOPA director of aviation security. “Pilots were also encouraged to use online preflight resources, such as those provided by Flight Service, that provide TFR graphics. They can be used for operational purposes if there is no disclaimer stating otherwise.”

In flight, be sure you understand how electronic flight bags process TFR information, including knowing how reliable the data are, taking “latency” of information delivered via the Flight Information Service-Broadcast (FIS-B) into consideration.

Flight following is another resource pilots should use in the vicinity of TFR airspace, Sakata said, urging pilots to review all the report’s best practices (see pages 46 to 48).

Meanwhile, AOPA continues to work with the FAA, Department of Defense, and the U.S. Secret Service to reduce the number of airspace violations through education outreach and TFR notifications to the pilot community.

Recently AOPA has worked with FAA to design new standard instrument departures (SIDs) for Princeton Airport and Central Jersey Regional Airport.  “As of June 2018, the FAA has submitted the designs for development. Charts should be available early next year,” Sakata said.

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz

Associate Editor Web
Associate Editor Web Dan Namowitz has been writing for AOPA in a variety of capacities since 1991. He has been a flight instructor since 1990 and is a 30-year AOPA member.
Topics: Temporary Flight Restriction, Airport Advocacy, Security

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