Wednesday, December 22, 2010

TFR limits flying to Dillingham from Dec. 22 to Jan. 3

Flying on the island of Oahu is prohibited by a 30 nm radius TFR, from 10 PM HST on December 22, 2010 to 11:15 PM HST on January 3, 2011, while the President is here. During this time paragliders will only be allowed to fly within a 4 nm radius of the Dillingham airfield, between 9 AM and 5 PM, after calling HNL ATC at 808-840-6201.

See the NOTAM describing the TFR on the FAA website for details.

Updated NOTAMS are issued frequently regarding the TFR - please check this list for the most recent changes.

Our liaison at the Secret Service has stressed that the consequence of any infraction will be immediate scrambling of F15 fighter jets. Also, please note that the FAA document threatens federal civil and criminal penalties as well as the use of deadly force.

Although the entire island is under the flight restriction, we will be allowed to fly paragliders within 4 nautical miles of Dillingham Airfield between the hours of 9 AM and 5 PM HST, along with the sailplanes and skydivers.

We will need to designate one pilot to call Honolulu Airport Air Traffic Control at 808-840-6201 before the first pilot flies on a given day. They may tell us that there is no flying authorized on a given day, and they won't explain why. It will probably be because of presidential movement. If they authorize the flying, they will ask for contact information. They will ask us to call again when the last pilot lands for the day. Please call me if you have questions about this protocol or if you run into any problems with it.

See this mapping tool for a map of the Dillingham area where we will be allowed to fly between 9 and 5.

The Dillingham area is known for working well in light north wind, which is a pretty rare combination of wind strength and direction. There is also a flying site within the allowed perimeter at Makua, which generally works in light to moderate westerly flow, an even more rare direction. These are not our best sites for most conditions, so if we're going to fly out there during this time, it might require some R&D and creativity. But it's a scenic and wild corner of the island, and I'm hoping we find out it's flyable on more days than we thought. Any kind of light winds or sea breezes will probably be our best chance for getting in the air over there.

Also, the other islands are not affected by this TFR, so pilots on the Big Island and Maui will still be flying every day during this period. Depending on how the weather turns out, there's a good chance many of us will be scheduling flying junkets to those islands at some point.

I'll post more details about this as I get more information. Thanks for your cooperation. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.