Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Trapped in Security Theater

Operating N631S from Potomac Airfield (KVKX) has proven for over a year to be convenient and trouble free...'til now. I should have known that sooner or later the Security Theater people would find a way to disrupt the lives of we law-abiding denizens of the 'Maryland 3 airports'. Their opportunity arrives in the form of the Nuclear Security Summit.

Presidents, heads-of-state and high factotums will converge on Washington, DC next Monday and Tuesday for discussions aimed at keeping us safe(r) from loose nukes and such threats. It would appear that this has led to the DC Convention Center being considered a Target Rich Environment and so, of course, Something Must Be Done. Actually, several "Somethings" including road closures, Metrorail station closures and NOTAM 0/3400.

The NOTAM establishes a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) that provides, among other things:

"D. Effective 1004121200 UTC (0800 local 04/12/10) until 1004140200 UTC (2200 local 04/13/10) all flight operations within the dc FRZ [i.e., the inner red ring, above] are prohibited unless specifically provided below;
5. The provisions of FDC NOTAM 9/4399 and 14 CFR part 93, pertaining to the Maryland 3 airports known as Washington executive airport/hyde field (KW32), Potomac airfield (KVKX) [N.B.: That's me!] and college park airport (KCGS), are temporarily suspended. Aircraft operations are not authorized at these airports."
Normally, N631S and I make the trip from KVKX north to KBDR on Monday morning but this week there are personal obligations keeping me in the DC area until Tuesday morning. Thus, the TFR complicates my life considerably. But, there is a work-around:
"C. Effective 1004121200 UTC (0800 local 04/12/10) until 1004140200 UTC (2200 local 04/13/10) daily 1200-0200 utc (0800-2200 local), all flight operations within the DC SFRA are prohibited unless specifically provided below;
2. General aviation aircraft on an active IFR flight plan may arrive and/or depart the following airports only: a) Dulles international airport (KIAD) b) Baltimore Washington international airport (BWI) c) Manassas Regional/Davis airport (HEF) (only when tower is operational)"
I've checked...the tower at Manassas (KHEF) opens for business at 0630 local time. So here's my plan: Fly into KVKX Friday evening in the usual way. Arrange for a ride back there on Sunday afternoon and fly over to KHEF. Rent a car and drive home, take care of business on Monday, and head back to Manassas at the crack of dawn on Tuesday to return the rental and fly north. That ought to work, at the cost of two day's auto rental and some lost sleep.

Here's my question: Why can't they convene their Summit in, maybe Sparks, NV? Or Whitefish, MT? Hey, I hear that Ulan Bator is lovely this time of year.


Royski said...

It's absurd. Hopefully you're not registered to vote in DC, and thus have a congresscritter to complain to.

Stephanie said...

I think there is plenty of room in Cheyenne Mountain.

And there is that huge bomb-shelter that the feds build out out in Greenbriar.

Frank Van Haste said...


Gee, I'd forgotten about the Greenbriar. It would be perfect. Hardened underground facility, nearby airport with ample runway, and barracks-style sleeping accommodations for the assembled potentates. Umm, maybe that last would be a problem -- they'd keep sneaking out to the adjoining luxury resort hotel.


Rich said...


As of this morning the no parking signs are up all along both sides of M Street, starting Saturday and going until next Wednesday. Mind you, the event itself is about a mile away from my office. Oh, and they're shutting down New York Avenue. So glad I can walk to work.

Frank Van Haste said...


Who thought this was a good idea?