Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hail to the Chief, Redux

He's doing it again. El Presidente is travelling to Allentown, PA tomorrow accompanied by his usual two-tier Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR). As of now the enabling NOTAM tells us that the restrictions go into effect at 1450Z and continue in force until 2140Z. Once again, the FAA has been kind enough to provide a graphic interpretation of the boundaries of the TFR:

The red line I've added to the graphic is my usual IFR clearance for a Friday afternoon trip from Connecticut to DC. As you can see, it goes right through the heart of the inner TFR core (the smaller thin red ring). Now, N631S and I are not going to be leaving KBDR any earlier than about 2130Z, so if the Man is on schedule the tents will be folded and the circus gone from town before I get there. But if he runs late I wouldn't be surprised to find the TFR extended to a later hour.

So, I'm going to file for a more southerly route - the blue line on the graphic, via Pottstown (PTW) VOR and thence on down toward Baltimore. If ATC will clear me for that route then all is well. It goes through the outer ring of the TFR (the larger thin red ring) but that's transparent to me since I'll be on an IFR flight plan. But if they insist on issuing me the usual "preferred" route then I'm just going to have to stay alert and insist on an en route deviation if required to circumvent the TFR (if it is still in effect).

That said, the good news is that the weather looks like it will cooperate. The freezing level charts are saying that it's going to be cold up there but the TAF's are all calling for high ceilings (if any), so icing shouldn't be an issue. I expect moderately strong headwinds and a flight time of about 2.8 hours. For December, it should be a nice trip.

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