Saturday, January 17, 2009

Don't Be an Idiot
on 01.20.09


There cannot possibly be any red blooded American who doesn't know what is going down on the steps of the U.S. Capital this coming Tuesday at noon.

Starting Saturday when President Obama and VP Biden make their train ride to D.C. for the inauguration, there will be serious TFRs all over the East, as we might expect from such a high profile series of events. But with a couple of MILLION people stuffing D.C. to the breaking point all trying to glimpse Obama as he usurps our country from the hands of the Clown Posse, you can bet that when the military says they may react with deadly force to aircraft busting the inauguration TFR, they mean it.

So let's take a look at some of the details of that TFR (edited for entertainment purposes only, not for navigation. See the real TFR as published at aopa.org:
8/4901 FLIGHT RESTRICTIONS WASHINGTON, DC, JANUARY 20, 2009. PURSUANT TO 49 USC 40103(B), THE FAA CLASSIFIES THE AIRSPACE DEFINED IN THIS NOTAM AS 'NATIONAL DEFENSE AIRSPACE'. PILOTS WHO DO NOT ADHERE TO THE FOLLOWING PROCEDURES MAY BE INTERCEPTED, DETAINED AND INTERVIEWED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT/ SECURITY PERSONNEL. ANY OF THE FOLLOWING ADDITIONAL ACTIONS MAY ALSO BE TAKEN AGAINST A PILOT WHO DOES NOT COMPLY WITH THIS NOTAM:

(A) THE FAA MAY TAKE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION,
(B) THE U.S. GOVERNMENT MAY PURSUE CRIMINAL CHARGES,
(C) THE U.S. GOVERNMENT MAY USE DEADLY FORCE AGAINST THE AIRBORNE AIRCRAFT, IF IT IS DETERMINED THAT THE AIRCRAFT POSES AN IMMINENT SECURITY THREAT.

EFFECTIVE 1000 LOCAL 01/20/09 UNTIL 1800 LOCAL 01/20/09.
O.K., so I now have your attention. Bust this TFR and losing your ticket for life might be a far better option than obliteration. But just where is this TFR:
THE DC ADIZ IS THAT AREA OF AIRSPACE OVER THE SURFACE OF THE EARTH WHERE THE READY IDENTIFICATION, LOCATION, AND CONTROL OF AIRCRAFT ARE REQUIRED IN THE INTERESTS OF NATIONAL SECURITY. SPECIFICALLY, THE DC ADIZ IS THAT AIRSPACE, FROM THE SURFACE TO BUT NOT INCLUDING FL180, WITHIN A 30-MILE RADIUS OF THE DCA VOR/DME.
There is also a Washington D.C. Flight Restricted Zone or FRZ, the boundaries of which could not be more complex. The huge six-part TFR goes on forever, but what is very clear is their description of the new intercept light system:
A NEW WARNING SIGNAL FOR COMMUNICATING WITH AIRCRAFT HAS BEEN DEPLOYED AND IS OPERATING WITHIN THE WASHINGTON DC METROPOLITAN AREA AIR DEFENSE IDENTIFICATION ZONE (DC ADIZ), INCLUDING THE FLIGHT RESTRICTED ZONE (FRZ). THE SIGNAL CONSISTS OF HIGHLY FOCUSED RED AND GREEN COLORED LIGHTS IN AN ALTERNATING RED/ RED/ GREEN/ SIGNAL PATTERN. THIS SIGNAL MAY BE DIRECTED AT SPECIFIC AIRCRAFT SUSPECTED OF MAKING UNAUTHORIZED ENTRY INTO THE ADIZ/FRZ AND ARE ON A HEADING OR FLIGHT PATH THAT MAY BE INTERPRETED AS A THREAT OR THAT OPERATE CONTRARY TO THE OPERATING RULES FOR THE ADIZ/FRZ. IF THIS SIGNAL IS DIRECTED AT YOU AND YOU ARE NOT COMMUNICATING WITH ATC, TURN TO A HEADING AWAY FROM THE CENTER OF THE FRZ/ADIZ AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. BE ADVISED THAT FAILURE TO FOLLOW THE RECOMMENDED PROCEDURES MAY RESULT IN INTERCEPTION BY MILITARY AIRCRAFT AND/OR THE USE OF FORCE.
So there you have it. If you live near D.C., then you already know about these kinds of TFRs. But this one is different. This is not your average Tuesday-at-noon TFR, on this day, the eyes of the world will be on the National Mall. It would be a really bad day to be on a scenic VFR flight chasing hamburgers and wander fat, dumb and happy over towards the general vicinity of Lincoln's bible.

Today a friend asked me what kind of air defenses would be up during the inauguration. Of course, I had no answer, only Secret Service and the Air Force know for sure what will be up there locked and loaded, ready to blow an errant flight student to dust.

If you live along the eastern seaboard, do your country a favor and park the plane Tuesday. Take no chances flying near D.C., because one wrong move could get you killed. Not kidding here.

Don't be an idiot.