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Understanding Impacts to Airports From Temporary Flight Restrictions (2020)

Chapter: Chapter 5 - Mitigating the Impact of TFRs

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 5 - Mitigating the Impact of TFRs." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Understanding Impacts to Airports From Temporary Flight Restrictions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25934.
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Page 50
Page 51
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 5 - Mitigating the Impact of TFRs." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Understanding Impacts to Airports From Temporary Flight Restrictions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25934.
×
Page 51
Page 52
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 5 - Mitigating the Impact of TFRs." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Understanding Impacts to Airports From Temporary Flight Restrictions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25934.
×
Page 52

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50 Mitigating the Impact of TFRs This chapter lists ways airports and other stakeholders can mitigate the impacts of TFRs. Some are short-term actions that can be taken to mitigate the effects of a TFR coming up in the next few days, and some are long-term actions that can mitigate future impacts, whenever they might occur. 5.1 Short-Term Mitigations • Pilots and other airspace users can fly out of another airport, outside the restriction. • Pilots can reschedule their flight to take place before the beginning of the TFR or after the end of the TFR. • Airport or business owners can communicate the details of an upcoming TFR to their regular customers. This can be as simple as a sign posted at an airport alerting pilots to a TFR (see Figure 24). A flight school or FBO could also contact people who they think are likely to want to fly during the TFR, to make sure they are aware of the restriction. If the TFR is not yet active but will be on their return leg, warn them about that also. • Businesses can contact customers who have previously planned flights that now will not be allowed due to the TFR and ask if they would like to reschedule. Offering flexible hours or waiving rescheduling fees can help establish strong relationships with customers, ensuring future business. • In cases where the TFR is expected to result in an increase in traffic—for example, an air show that brings new customers to the airport—businesses can make sure sufficient staff is available to meet demand, and ensure they have extra supplies or inventory on hand. • Pilots should always check for the latest NOTAMs before departing. When there is a TFR in place, make sure to understand any new procedures and follow them carefully. Ask questions and get clarification before leaving the ground. • Flight operators can access graphical tools that plot the restricted regions overlaid on a naviga- tion chart, so it is easy to see which airports, routes, and approaches are affected. 5.2 Longer-Term Mitigations • Try to predict how many future TFRs will occur. Be realistic about their frequency and scope. Develop a contingency plan in case a TFR is announced on short notice; do not be caught by surprise, if you know there is a chance for a VIP TFR. • Ask for modifications to the TFR procedures. Contact the FAA and local government officials. Possible modifications include cutouts in the edge of the TFR ring or changes to the radius of the rings. These might not happen quickly, but such changes have occurred. – The current 10-nm and 30-nm distances are less than the larger distance originally proposed by the Secret Service. It is possible that the justification for these could be revisited. C H A P T E R 5

Mitigating the Impact of TFRs 51 – The rules concerning types of unauthorized operations could be relaxed. For example, the threat from parachutists or glider pilots could be judged low enough to allow these operations. • Specific officials to contact: – Local airport manager – Regional FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO). See https://www.faa.gov/about/ office_org/field_offices/fsdo/ – State aviation office – U.S. Representative in Congress – Private organization such as NJAA or AOPA It is difficult to contact the Secret Service directly, but one of these officials should be able to arrange a meeting. In some cases, the Secret Service and the FAA might proactively organize an informational meeting for airports affected by new TFRs; they did this in Florida and New Jersey in early 2017. Stakeholders in Hawaii agreed on changes to allow more aviation access in 2010 after the president’s visit in 2009 [Williams 2011]. • Advocate for a pre-screening process for pilots. A successful example of this was achieved for three airports in Maryland that lie inside the Washington, D.C. FRZ. Many airports in New Jersey have called for a similar approach to be adopted there. – In 2004, one presidential candidate declined to ask for TFRs at his campaign stops. AOPA thanked him for his consideration, saying “On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of pilots who rely on predictable access to airspace for their flight activities . . . thank you for your common-sense approach to security in not requesting airspace restrictions for your campaign travels.” [AOPA 2004]. – Presidents or presidents-elect would not have this option; only candidates. • Use the results of this project to model the impact of future TFRs induced by presidential travel. This should also help with predictability and perceptions in the aviation community. By identifying stakeholders and telling them what to expect, and what not to expect, there should be less misinformation that leads pilots to avoid attempting to fly in these areas, even when clear procedures are in place to allow it. Figure 24. Example of TFR announcement.

52 Understanding Impacts to Airports From Temporary Flight Restrictions • Weather or unusual natural events (smoke from forest fires, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes) sometimes prevent normal aviation operations. Regarding TFRs as another type of unavoid- able disruption might not lessen their impact, but it could be a mental technique to help make these events less stressful. • For a business, depending on a particular season for a large portion of annual profits is inherently risky. Developing additional sources of revenue that are not vulnerable to TFR risk is sound general business practice. • A possible business opportunity lies in creating a TFR insurance product. An insurance company could offer a policy to protect an airport or aviation business from the risk of experiencing extended closures due to TFRs. The benefit might pay an amount equal to the expected revenue over the time period of the TFR, in exchange for an appropriate premium. A tool such as the TFR impact estimation spreadsheet could be used as input to the underwriting process. • Another business opportunity would be to develop an electronic tool, such as a mobile app, that displays restricted airspace and the terms of the restriction in a clear format that is easy for pilots to interpret quickly. This might help pilots avoid accidentally violating TFR airspace. • A related opportunity lies in developing a similar mobile app targeting the emerging field of unmanned aviation and urban air mobility (UAM), to help these flight operators know what operations are allowed, and where, during TFRs.

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Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs) can be implemented for several reasons, including security, hazards, space operations, special events, and VIP travel. VIP TFRs, specifically presidential TFRs, have much greater impact than other types of TFRs because they encompass a larger geography, are longer in duration, and may have little advance notice.

The TRB Airport Cooperative Research Program's ACRP Research Report 224: Understanding Impacts to Airports From Temporary Flight Restrictions identifies financial and other ramifications of TFRs on airports and aviation-related businesses.

Also included as part of the report is an electronic tool that will estimate the financial ramifications of a TFR for a specific airport or related business. Further, a video was created that shows how to use the spreadsheet, with instructional voiceovers explaining its features.

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