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Old 10-01-2006, 12:32 PM   #1  
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Default Avoiding Power Stations?

Hey APC,

Today I partook in yet another hour-building solo cross-country flight (trying to build up 50 hrs for IFR). The flight went fine, it's what happened afterwards that bothers me.

After taxiing into the FBO, getting ready to hop out and tie-down, a Miami-Dade Airport truck pulls in front of me, and informs me that (apparently) the Department of Homeland Security has been looking for "my" (a rental) aircraft. When I asked what in the hell for (not exactly in those words ), he said "Something about flying over a power-plant". He want on to tell me that they had decided against sending anyone out, and that I shouldn't worry about it (he was real cool about it, thanks whoever you are ). He was right, I didn't have any agents come knocking on my door, and everyone at the FBO just kinda laughed it off.

Here's what I'm puzzled about: after he informed me of my folly, I went over my charts a dozen times, looking for anything that denoted a power-plant. My route of flight was clearly drawn out on the sectional, and there was no power plant anywhere near it (I didn't even see one on the map). I also filed a VFR flight plan to the destination, and another one on the return trip, and got a full weather/NOTAM briefing each time, neither mentioned anything about any TFRs or restricted airspaces. And to top it all off, I've lived here my entire life, and was never aware of any power plants on my route, and if there was, I must have had my head up my ass because how the hell do you miss two huge beaker-shaped smokestacks billowing steam into your route of flight?

My question is: how do I know where these things are? And how do I avoid them? I assume they're marked on the map. I'd hate to have a repeat incident.

Last edited by GotheriK; 10-01-2006 at 12:48 PM.
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Old 10-01-2006, 12:43 PM   #2  
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We had an incident a few years ago with a student and instuctor doing steep turns and the winds aloft carried them near a nuke power plant, when they realized it they broke it right off. When they got back, the were numerous police cars and FBI waiting to take them in. If it was not for the ATC controller knowing the CFI they probably would have been arrested. He was able to talk to the FBI while they were instructed to hold on the airfield. He convinced them they were not terrorist
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Old 10-01-2006, 12:47 PM   #3  
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Oh...******....

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Old 10-01-2006, 01:29 PM   #4  
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There is nothing preventing you from flying over powerplants. It's just not a good idea. No reason to draw any attention to you if you don't need to. There is a coal powerplant that we use as a VFR reporting point and I will fly a mile or two north or south of it for this reason. There is also a nuclear plant that is directly under a cross country route that I like sending my students on for their first solo x-c. When doing the flight dual, I make it a point to tell them to go a bit to the south and have never had a problem.

I believe that when the "color-coded fear guide" goes to orange some nuke plants get a TFR. I could be wrong, but there's never a reason to fly over them. Take a couple minutes and deviate off course a bit.
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Old 10-01-2006, 02:10 PM   #5  
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There is a nuclear plant (VC Summers to be exact) about 8 miles to the W of my field. It's located on the south side of a lake (Lake Monticello to be exact). There is an island that is about a mile, maybe 2 miles N of the plant. We make an effort to stay N of the island to prevent any involvement with law enforcement. It's worked so far.
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Old 10-01-2006, 02:12 PM   #6  
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Well actually there are TFRs that are around Nuc Plants. IF you go to faa.gov and then go to graphical TFRs they may be there. Search around the website and you will find a graphical depiction of TFRs all over the country. If has been my experience the HLS and TSA dont comunicate with FSS's and therefore they do not know about some of the TFRs also, those TFRs have been around awhile, since 2001 and they are not going anywhere. When you call, you are already expected to know those long term TFRs. For example if you flew up around DC they arent going to tell you not to fly over the White House you are expected to know that already and not fly over it.
Now with all that said those TFRs have altitude resistrictions. The ones around power plants are not surface to unlimited they stop at a particular altitdue. If you bust those alt, then you busted the TFR.
I think this is all really stupid if you ask me! In Nov 2001 they put these around power plants and my plane was stuck in Harrisburg (Three Mile Island) for a week because only part 135 and 121 operations were allowed to leave. No GA!!! BS!!!! anyways they need to realize that these plants have 6ft of concrete around them and a freaking 210 or 172 is NOT going to do any damage!!!!
But we have to live with this now. So look at faa.gov they all kinds of TFR stuff on their. I would look at that before every flight. I have to before I go fly my Air Force jet, and if I have to do that in an Air Force jet cause I can get in trouble, then I would recommend that you do it too in your civi plane. sucks!
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Old 10-01-2006, 02:29 PM   #7  
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Ok here ya go
These are Department of Energy Security zones. They should not be overflown by less than 2000 AGL unless
Emergency
military nessecity
VFR forced below for weather
Insupport of DOE

Now I dont see one in FLA area, they are
Savannah River FacilityAiken, SC(803) 854-2458
Oak Ridge FacilityOak Ridge, TN(615) 576-0899
Rocky Flats FacilityGolden, CO(303) 497-2391
Idaho Falls FacilityIdaho Falls, ID(208) 526-1555
Los Alamos FacilityLos Alamos, NM(505) 667-1616
Rickland FacilityRickland, WA(509) 376-7441
Site 300Livermore, CA(415) 543-3020
Livermore NationalLivermore, CA(415) 543-3020

I'll keep looking for more info for ya
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Old 10-01-2006, 03:44 PM   #8  
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LOL, I'm on the FAA website now. Looking at the TFR info for Florida, it says in a big red box "Depicted TFR data may not be a complete listing. Pilots should not use the information on this website for flight planning purposes. For the latest information, call your local Flight Service Station at 1-800-WX-BRIEF".

If FSS isn't going to tell us, and your website has incomplete data, how are we supposed to know where the TFRs are?
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Old 10-01-2006, 04:33 PM   #9  
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EXACTLY! Thats what I say!
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Old 10-01-2006, 04:44 PM   #10  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TankerBob View Post
EXACTLY! Thats what I say!
So I'm not crazy! Cheers!
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