Tuesday (9/10/02) National Airspace System Update
September 11th Anniversary: As September 11th approaches, there are many rumors, and fears about what may happen. I have been in contact with the FAA Headquarters Airspace Rules and Regulations and contingency plans are in place to cope with any potential situation. TFRs have been issued for NYC, Washington DC and Pennsylvania. You can monitor all TFRs by accessing the US NOTAM website (available through the Interagency Airspace Website at http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/fire/aviation/airspace . We will keep you posted if there are any further restrictions implemented.
We have implemented a new feature on the Interagency Airspace Website that maps TFR's every 30 minutes. For example, if there is any emergency TFRs implemented, we will have maps of them available to you via the internet within 30 minutes. I have been in contact with Tim Melchert (USFS Aviation Security Program Manager) and we will strive to keep you informed in case of an emergency. There are also many great aviation websites that are monitoring the situation. Information is available at the following websites:
Here are two FDC NOTAMS of interest - the first NOTAM rescinds all waivers to fly near sporting events or open air assemblies of people - the second NOTAM is included to remind all pilots to be aware that interception procedures are still in place and to be knowledgeable of interception procedures.
2/9579 - ... SPECIAL NOTICE ... FLIGHT RESTRICTIONS EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. PURSUANT TO 14 CFR SECTION 99.7, SPECIAL SECURITY INSTRUCTIONS, AND EMERGENCY AIR TRAFFIC RULES, UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. ALL WAIVER TO FDC NOTAM 1/3353 ARE RESCINDED IMMEDIATELY. FDC NOTAM 1/3353 PROHIBIT ALL AIRCRAFT OPERATIONS WITHIN A 3 NAUTICAL MILE RADIUS/3000 FEET AGL AND BELOW OVER ANY MAJOR PROFESSIONAL OR COLLEGIATE SPORTING EVENT OR ANY OTHER MAJOR OPEN AIR ASSEMBLY OF PEOPLE. THEREFORE, ALL OPERATIONS ARE PROHIBITED AS DESCRIBED ABOVE, EXCEPT AS AUTHORIZED BY ATC FOR OPERATIONAL PURPOSES, AND THERE ARE NO AUTHORIZED WAIVERS TO THIS RESTRICTIONS. THIS ACTION IS BEEN REVIEWED TO DETERMINE APPROPRIATE NEXT STEPS. REFER TO THE FAA WEB-SITE AT: http://www.faa.gov/ntap/index.htm. AFTER 09:00 AM LOCAL EST 9/11/02 FURTHER INFORMATION. WIE UNTIL UFN
1/0330 - U.S. NATIONAL AIRSPACE SYSTEM INTERCEPT PROCEDURES. UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE ALL AIRCRAFT OPERATING IN THE U.S. NATIONAL AIRSPACE, IF CAPABLE, WILL MAINTAIN A LISTENING WATCH ON VHF GUARD 121.5 OR UHF 243.0. IT IS INCUMBENT ON ALL AVIATORS TO KNOW AND UNDERSTAND THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES IF INTERCEPTED. REVIEW "AERONAUTICAL INFORMATION MANUAL" SECTION 6, 5-6-2 FOR INTERCEPT PROCEDURES. WIE UNTIL UFN
National Airspace Coordination Team (ACT): We moved this summer! Due to cramped space issues in the Regional Office where we were basically operating out of 2 cubicles, the NW Coordination Center graciously offered the Airspace Coordination Team space that was vacated when the MAC group moved next door. We leapt at the possibilities and for the past month have been tucked into offices at the Portland Airport with the finest view in the world of PDX's runways.
This move has allowed us space to offer currency training for field airspace coordinators and hold meetings with the FAA. Field Airspace Coordinators report to Portland and are outfitted with cell phones, laptops and printers. After currency training, they are assigned to the field. Daily support includes an evening conference call for airspace coordinators where problems are identified and worked out.
Field Airspace Coordinator Update: This has been a huge year for airspace coordination and we have had great field airspace coordinators in place. Our Field Airspace coordinators have been on assignments since May and are still in several states coordinating airspace issues. So far 24 Airspace Coordinators have accepted 53 assignments to support this fire season. 11 of the 24 Field Airspace Coordinators are pilots.
Here is the breakdown of Field Airspace Coordinator assignments so far this summer:
New Mexico: 1
As part of their assignment, the Field Airspace Coordinators performed an outreach program to all neighboring airports and FBO's. Posters and cards with the Interagency Airspace Website URL were distributed. In addition, several airspace coordinators were assigned to outreach at local fly-ins. Pilots were extremely interested in receiving information about TFRs - especially graphical depictions.
Here is an excerpt from a seven page accomplishment report by Arnold James and John Townsley who led our airspace outreach program in Washington and Oregon.
"Outreach was conducted between 7/14/01 and 8/18/02. During this period fifty airports in Oregon and Washington were visited, contacts were made with approximately 93 schools, aviation businesses, aviation organizations, and aviation related government offices; 5 university/college associated flight schools, 4 pilot associations: 80 flight schools and aviation related businesses). In excess 900 pilots were individually contacted during these visits and during four fly-ins. Pilots and flight instructors contacted during this outreach were universally enthusiastic about easily accessible, web based, graphically depicted TFRs displayed on sectionals. Several flight school CFIs indicated they intended to use materials provided in upcoming lessons with students. In addition, CFI's at several flight schools said they intended to use materials provided for ongoing continuing education for pilots."
Field Airspace Coordinator Arne Stemsrud has been on a one person odyssey throughout Washington teaching IAMS at all government dispatch offices. Arne started his IAMS outreach program earlier this summer in Central Oregon and quickly provided great support. Arne states that in a short time he was able to "reach 4 Helibases/Seatbases, 7 FBO's/Flightschools, 2 General Aviation Organizations, 2 ICPs, the Air Tanker Base, Smokejumper Base, and the Regional Aviation Group." We can testify that wherever Arne has been, that airspace coordination has greatly improved!
New TFR Form! Negotiations are now complete with the US NOTAM office and they have approved a new TFR request form that will include the fire name in the TFR NOTAM. We have slightly modified the TFR form that is presently in the 2002 National Mobilization Guide to also include both lat/long and bearing/distance for polygon TFRs.
Our TFR coordination has greatly improved now that everyone is using the US NOTAM format for lat/longs. Many thanks for your cooperation. Please discontinue using all previously issued forms and make sure you are using the 9/5/02 version. This will facilitate the FAA in coordinating your TFR requests.
HERE IS WHAT IS DIFFERENT:
This TFR form will also be available in the e-version of the 2002 National Mobilization Guide. Thanks to Dennis Griffin for modifying the form to handle FAA's requests.
In case you were wondering, the FAA sent a message to all ARTCC's instructing them to use Degrees/Minutes/Seconds and here is their memo:
Subject: Standardized LAT/LONG Format
From: US NOTAM OFFICE
To All NOTAMs Specialists:
I've been working with ATP to initiate action to have a standardized format implemented for Latitude and Longitude for some time now. These efforts have generated little success, I guess the wheels of change turn slowly. More recently I've approached our procedures department for some help with this issue. While they work on this problem of numerous different formatting being used FAA wide I would at least like to try to address the inconsistencies within NOTAMs. I've seen at least six different formats for LAT/LONGs contained within FDC's. I realize the information comes to you in many different forms and formats but we need to stop putting out all these varied formats.
Effective immediately insure that all NOTAMs containing LATITUDE and LONGITUDE information utilize Degrees,Minutes, Seconds and include Reference to North Latitude (N) and West Longitude (W). If seconds are not available, add two zeros for the seconds spaces. Do Not Include spaces, commas, dashes or any other symbols.
The standardized format shall be: ddmmssN/dddmmssW. EXAMPLE: 333826N/0842537W
When a series of corner points are included list then in a clockwise sequence. Some systems are being utilized that generate graphic depictions of an identified area and if the points are listed out of order, the resulting depiction is inaccurate.
The presidential TFR's all come in with this format already, when you get information from other sources with other formats request the sender to correct the formatting. Thank You.
Remote Airspace Support: The Airspace Coordination Team was at the Rocky Mountain GACC for 7 weeks this summer. After leaving, we discovered that fire season revisited Colorado and Wyoming. After discussions with the Center Manager and Aircraft desk, it was agreed that the Airspace Coordination Team would support Rocky Mountain from Portland. AOBD's would call in their request for complex TFR's and the Airspace team would analyse the TFR and coordinate any issues with Denver or Salt Lake Center.
The Airspace Team would provide the AOBD with a clean "pre-approved" TFR request form to be sent through Dispatch and resource order channels. Problems were averted especially in the Steamboat Springs area when proposed TFR's were found to affect the ILS approach. Adjustments were proposed and accepted and all parties were please. This reduced the amount of lag time for the TFR because the Airspace Coordination Team worked directly with the FAA in mitigating any airspace problems.
Honors for Airspace Coordinators: Arne Stemsrud, Gary Jewett, and Summer Johnson received a Certificate from Forest Supervisor Bonnie Wood for a job well done during their fire assignment on the Malheur NF on the 747, Malheur and Monument complexes.
Biscuit Fire Update: We have had field airspace coordinators on the Biscuit fire since the very beginning. Eight airspace coordinators have served at Biscuit and Jim Unruh was there for two continuous assignments. We are thrilled that Area Command singled out Jim Unruh's performance for an Air Award. Jim was also acknowledged by Area Command for a job well done on the Rodeo-Chedisky fire in Arizona. Congrats to Jim for his outstanding work.
Jim Unruh (Air Award write-up)
During Jim's tenure on the Florence/Biscuit Incident, he has been invaluable initiating, and modifying TFRs; coordinating TFRs within the Southwest Oregon area and working with local general aviation personnel.
Jim met with the local ultra-light operators at the Illinois Valley airport and briefed them on the fire aviation situation. The TFR was modified to exclude the airport even though it is adjacent to the fire boundary. The general aviation pilots have been very supportive of the fire aviation operations and there have been no conflicts at the airport or near the fire. Jim's enthusiasm, pilot experience and airspace skills have been instrumental in safe airspace operations in Southwest Oregon.
Interagency Airspace Website - (http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/fire/aviation/airspace/)
GREAT NEWS - for the past six weeks our computer experts have been testing a 30 minute update component on the Interagency Airspace Website. Slowly but surely we have worked all the "bugs" out. Our comfort level rose considerably when our computer programmer was locked out of his computer room and the 30 minute update worked like a champ!
What this means is that you can access graphic depictions of your TFRs 30 minutes after the US NOTAM office posts the NOTAM. You no longer have to wait until the next morning to see what your TFR looks like. This has been a great benefit especially for the more complex polygon fires. Congrats to Neal Flagg and Bob Roth who have spearheaded this project. Wait until you see what's coming next! Great things will be coming soon!
What else is new on the Interagency Airspace Website??
Have you visited the Interagency Airspace Website lately? Here is a sample of some of the new items we have loaded on the website. Many thanks to webmaster Dennis Griffin for his outstanding support and leadership this summer.
Agency Boundary Table - Where you are depends on who you ask! Shows FAA, FS, BLM, NPS, FWS regions by state. Also the ARTCCs and GACCs serving those states. Are depicted. Including maps.
NOTAMS for GPS Outages - US Coast Guard NEW
Fire Traffic Area Powerpoint Presentation (also viewable in OpenOffice Impress) NEW
Boundary Airspace Plans NEW
Close-up Maps of TFRs on Sectional Charts
Instructions for printing TFRs on Sectional Charts (.pdf) - NEW
Map of Air Route Traffic Control Centers (ARTCCs) boundaries- NEW
BLM Airspace Information System - Updates from Ben Hinkle about the BLM Airspace Website.
BLM Airspace Website Update: Ben Hinkle and Aeroplanner.com have done a fabulous job with the BLM Airspace website. Ben has sent out numerous updates since the website went up this summer and you can find links to all his updates and website at www.fs.fed.us/r6/fire/aviation/airspace - this has been a great addition to supporting our airspace program and has been extremely helpful.
Working with Air Force One and President Bush's staff: Jim Unruh and Cliff Chetwin got the thrill of a lifetime recently touring Air Force One. They had worked with the Air Force pilots in arranging a flight over the Biscuit fire. Once the flight was over and President Bush was ready to give his speech, the Airspace Coordinators faced a decision - they could either attend the speech (with tickets from the Secret Service men) or take a tour of Air Force One. With Area Commands Aviation Coordinators (Barry Hicks and Paul Linse) in tow, they were treated to a 90 minute tour of the Presidents 747.
From Jim Unruh: "This episode really started several days before the presidential visit when Julie Stewart coordinated with the FAA to include a clause in the NOTAM establishing the presidential TFR which permitted the continuance of aerial fire fighting efforts during President Bush's visit. My involvement began soon afterward when I FAXed TFR graphics and other airspace coordination information to a Col. Smith. I understood Col Smith was a part of the presidential party, but at that time I did not know he was the commanding officer of Air Force One!
The day before the presidential visit, I attended a planning meeting between key Medford Airport officials and thePresident's advance team. It was very informative for the team, as they did not have much experience dealing with "competing" (i.e., fire-related) TFR's. We worked to our mutual benefit to minimize impacts to each other's mission. Air Force representatives and Secret Service personnel conducted the meeting in a most efficient, professional and businesslike manner - just as you would expect.
The morning of the presidential visit, the airspace coordination phone rang. The moment I answered, I could tell the caller was in an aircraft in flight. "Colonel Smith, here," was the greeting. "In a few minutes we'll be approaching the Biscuit Fire, and I'd like to brief the President." So we provided information about the most active areas of the fire, as well as recent changes to the TFR. Air Force One did not enter the fire's TFR, but leveled 1000 feet above it. We offered to provide air-to-air, fixed wing frequencies so AF1 could contact air attack and ask permission to enter the TFR, but Col. Smith politely declined. The telephone conversation concluded with Col. Smith offering us a tour of Air Force One.
Our contacts established with the advance team the day before made entering the secure zone around Air Force One fairly easy. On board, Col Smith and his co-pilot LTC Doe conducted the tour of the entire aircraft (excluding the cargo area) in a most generous, relaxed and gracious way. Of course, the tour highlight was a long visit to the flight deck. With time to spare, both Col Smith and LTC Doe turned the tables and asked about our work. Under Barry Hicks' lead, we concluded our visit with a discussion about TFR's, the role of aircraft in fire suppression, fuels management and fire management in general. It was a most memorable experience for all of us. And there were no TFR intrusions by Boeing 747's or other aircraft that day. Mission accomplished!"
Paul Linse, Barry Hicks and Airspace Coordinators Jim Unruh and Cliff Chetwin on their tour of Air Force One.
SAFECOM UPDATE: An analysis of both USFS and DOI SAFECOMS reveals the following information as of September 7th, 2002. Detailed information will be posted at a later date.
Airspace SAFECOMs received as of 9/7/02: 162
Number of TFR intrusions: 75
Number of Near Mid Air Collisions identified : 32
Evasive Action documented: 17
TCAS Alarms: 5
Communication issues identified: 30
Military involved airspace SAFECOMS: 26 (note - this has doubled from last year).
Locations of Airspace SAFECOMs as of September 7th:
Working with the Pentagon to monitor SAFECOMs : After noticing that the SAFECOMS involving DoD aircraft had doubled, I contacted Military Representatives for all branches and sent them a detailed breakdown of all SAFECOMS highlighting safety issues. The US Air Force has invited me to meet with them to establish monitoring procedures with their Safety Officers and AFREPs. The US Navy was extremely responsive and sent the following to all flight crews nation wide:
Wing Operations Officers,
1. It's Fire Fighting season! Fire fighting aircraft (helo and fixed wing) typically operate at or below 3000' AGL between the airspace around the fire and the airspace around the water source (lake, river, ocean).
2. Remind your pilots of the mid-air collision hazard that exists near fires. Avoid smoke and fire by at least 5NM.
3. Avoid a flight violation! The airspace around a fire is often protected by a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR). If you enter a TFR without clearance you may receive a flight violation.
A. IFR Flight. Air Traffic Control will vector nonparticipating IFR traffic around TFRs.
B. VFR Flight. If you are flying VFR you are responsible for avoiding TFRs. Check NOTAMS for TFRs before you fly. Go to http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/fire/aviation/airspace for a visual display of fire fighting TFRs. Call the nearest Flight Service Station (FSS) on deck at 1-800-992-7433 (or 1-800-WX BRIEF), or airborne on VHF 122.2, or UHF 255.4 to confirm there are no TFRs along your route of flight.
C. MTRs (Military Training Routes). Check for TFRs along your MTRs or stereo routes.
4. Request you forward this info to your squadron operations officers Recommend squadrons brief at pilot training and post info in flight planning office.
US Forest Service Poster: (See attached file: gaposter.pdf)
5. FYI. Email below from Ms. Stewart gives more info on DoD TFR violators.
LCDR Frank Bugelli, U.S. Navy
Naval Representative FAA
(Western-Pacific, NW Mountain, AK Regions)
That's all for now - we will strive to keep you updated as the nation copes with the September 11th anniversary.