Saturday, June 12, 2010

FAA Shuts Down All Air Traffic in Gulf of Mexico Over Deepwater Horizon Under 14 CFR Section 91.137(a)(1)

This information comes from the official FAA page (thanks to for the heads up) and is dated as of June 9, 2010. As of that date, no one may fly a plane or other aircraft over the impacted zone in the Gulf of the Mexico. Click the following link for 14 CFR Section 91.137(a)(1), or scroll down to the very bottom of this article.

No pilots may operate an aircraft in the areas covered by this NOTAM (except as described).

Pursuant to 14 CFR section 91.137(a)(1) temporary flight restrictions are in effect for deepwater horizon/mississippi canyon (mc252) incident cleanup and reconstitution operations an area bounded by: 290500n/0904000w or the leeville /lev/ vortac 258 degree radial at 30.1 NM to 300000n/0890000w or the gulfport /gpt/ vortac 169 degree radial at 24.7 NM to 300000n/0870000w or the crestview /cew/ vortac 196 degree radial at 52.2 NM to 280000n/0870000w or the panama city /pfn/ vortac 208 degree radial at 149.6 NM to 280000n/0904000w or the leeville /lev/ vortac 201 degree radial at 76.3 NM to the point of beginning at and below 3000 feet AGL excluding the airspace outside of 12 nautical miles from the us coastline. This area is also depicted on U.S. Gulf coast VFR aeronautical chart id helgc as an area bounded from south pelto 2/sp02 then to south pass 6/sp06 then to chandler 39/ch39 then to pensacola 984/pe984 then to desoto canyon 635/dc635 to south timbalair 242/st242 and then back to original point. All aircraft operations are prohibited except those flights authorized by ATC, routine flights supporting offshore oil operations; federal, state, local and military flight operations supporting oil spill recovery and reconstitution efforts; and air medical and law enforcement operations.

1. All pilots operating within and near this area including the shoreline should exercise extreme caution due to the numerous low level operations associated with the deepwater horizon/mc-252 incident 3000 feet and below.

2. Aircraft involved in these operations may make sudden changes in direction, speed, and altitude. For additional information, participating aircraft altitude assignments and awareness, all pilots are recommended to review the following web site dedicated to the aviation cleanup efforts at: https://1afnorth.Region1.Ang.Af.Mil/deepwater_spill/default.Aspx

3. The incident commander has directed that aircraft participating in the deepwater horizon/mc252 incident, operate at the altitudes assigned by mission type unless otherwise directed.

4. Oil industry aircraft on routine support missions within the TFR area should not operate below 1500 feet weather permitting until within 2 nautical miles of their landing platform/site and remain on. Their assigned mode 3a code at all times. Flights within the temporary flight restriction area should be conducted under visual meteorological conditions (vmc). In the event instrument meteorological conditions (imc) conditions are encountered, pilot's should attempt to maintain VFR to the maximum extent possible or contact ATC for further instructions or exit the TFR via the safest route.

5. Participating aircraft in the recovery efforts are required to contact houma air operations at 985-493-7607 for assigned work area and mode 3a beacon code assignments. Aircraft shall squawk the assigned mode 3a beacon code at all times while inside the TFR.

6. With the exception of aircraft conducting aerial chemical dispersing operations;no fixed wing aircraft are authorized below 1000 feet above the surface unless for landing and takeoff

7. For additional information on air operations within the deepwater horizon TFR see website: https://1afnorth.Region1.Ang.Af.Mil/deepwater_spill/default.Aspx.

8. Pilots are advised to check notams frequently for possible changes prior to operating in this area.

9. Exceptions: operations not covered by the above authorizations may be permitted on a case-by-case basis dependent upon safety issues, operational requirements, weather conditions, and traffic volume. Flights authorized under this exception must be conducted under visual flight rules. Pilots requesting flights under this exception must contact the houma deepwater horizon incident air operations center at 985-493-7804 between the hours of 0600-1800 cst, a minimum of 24 hours prior to desired flight time. Operators should be prepared to provide precise details of their requested flight including: pilots name and contact information, company/organization, purpose of flight, type aircraft, callsign, ingress/egress points and times, requested altitude and route of flight. Pilots will then be provided with additional instructions for obtaining final approval and beacon code assignment.

10. Any aircraft observing oil while operating in the gulf of mexico should report the location to the oil reporting hotline at 866-557-1401 upon landing. Report should include lat/longs of the oil and time observed.

11. Pilots should be aware that flights approved under this exception are subject to last minute change or cancellation due to the dynamic nature of this event. Houma air operations center at 985-493-7607 is the coordination facility. For information about this NOTAM contact the system operations support center (SOSC) at 202-267-8276

Here is 14 CFR Section 91.137(a)(1):

91.137 - Temporary flight restrictions in the vicinity of disaster/hazard areas.

(a) The Administrator will issue a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) designating an area within which temporary flight restrictions apply and specifying the hazard or condition requiring their imposition, whenever he determines it is necessary in order to (1) Protect persons and property on the surface or in the air from a hazard associated with an incident on the surface;

Source: FAA

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