11:21 PM

Bad Time of
to Fly
Fat, Dumb

and Happy

You arrive at the field ready to chase hamburgers, and the pre-flight goes well. Since you are only going a couple of cities over and the WX is clear and a million, you decide not to call for a weather briefing. You joke to your passenger that since your town's college football team is playing this afternoon, why not mosey over the stadium for a good look down at the game.

From about 2,000 feet AGL, you can almost see the cheerleaders whipping the crowd into a frenzy. How jealous those 50,000 fans must be down there, looking up at you as you circle overhead in your fancy airplane. But as you leave the stadium area on your way to securing a $100 burger, you're shocked to find you're flying formation with a couple of F-16s from the local National Guard base. They motion you to land immediately, where you're greeted by a black SUV full of Federal Agents who give you the ramp check from hell before "taking you downtown" as they say on the TV cop shows.

That scenario could take place if you bust one of the most easily forgotten TFRs out there today:

3/1862~ (Issued for KFDC PART 1 OF 2) Until further notice. pursuant to 14 CFR section 99.7, special security instructions, commencing one hour before the scheduled time of the event until one hour after the end of the event, all aircraft and parachute operations are prohibited at and below 3,000 feet agl within a three nautical mile radius of any stadium having a seating capacity of 30,000 or more people in which a Major League Baseball, National Football League, NCAA Division One Football, or major motor speedway event is occuring.
These events would have been valuable information, passed along by a briefer if the pilot in the fictional flight above had bothered to call for a briefing. But even before you call Flight Service, you can visit AOPA.org, where you'll find a comprehensive list of all stadiums and speedways that are covered in the blanket TFR:
Major League Baseball Parks

NCAA Stadiums

National Football League Stadiums

Major Motor Speedways
Do yourself a favor, take this TFR seriously. Before you fly VFR over any city right now, do one of these two things: (1) Call for a briefing and specifically ask for any stadium TFRs along your route, or (2) Consider asking for flight following, so ATC can grill you about your intentions should you fly to close to a stadium covered under the TFR.

If you do neither of those things, and you find yourself circling aimlessly over a stadium full of fans, expect a visit from Homeland Security. And if you see an F-16 appear as your wingman, keep in mind that the guy in that fighter jet with his hand on the trigger is talking to people who make NORAD look like the Boy Scouts.

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