California Fires - Impact to flying? (VNY)

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Ted DuPuis, Dec 6, 2017.

  1. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    I've got a flight from Houston to California planned this weekend (VNY specifically). I'll be flying the 414.

    Looking at current TFRs, there are ones around VNY. But looking at FlightAware, planes are still going in and out (albeit perhaps fewer than what might be normal).

    Obviously things are going to be dynamic in this situation as the fires continue to burn and potentially spread, but I'm curious if anyone with local knowledge (or with ATC knowledge) knows how flights are being handled. @Radar Contact ? (I know you're not in SoCal, just curious if you had any ATC insight)
     
  2. catmandu

    catmandu Cleared for Takeoff

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    I can understand your apprehension, but unless there is a TFR that affects your route of flight, should be a non issue. If things get dynamic, and a big damn TFR impacts VNY, there will be a phone number listed for coordination of flight within the TFR. Even when there are pop up operations outside of TFR's they are usually monitoring the appropriate frequency for that sector of TRACON, and you can deconflict with the scene commander in real time.
     
  3. Pilawt

    Pilawt Final Approach

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    As of now only the “Rye” fire is upwind of KVNY. Airspace problems aside, smoke layers may be an issue. IMC is one thing, but when your eyes are burning and you can’t breathe, it’s a bit more difficult. BTDT.

    900.jpg

    And the winds are forecast to pick up again tonight, so there may be even more fires between now and the weekend.

    It’s nerve-wracking to live downwind of dry brush areas in SoCal this time of year.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
  4. luvflyin

    luvflyin En-Route

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    I was a controller there many years ago, doubt if things have changed much. Unless they are dropping very close by, traffic into and out of the airport can continue. You will probably have to be working with Approach even if you stay under the 3000 foot C floor 5 miles beyond BUR. Like said above, there will be points of contact to stay in touch with.
     
  5. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Flying? IFR in and out. Smoke while airborne never bothers me much even though conditions are IMC.

    On the ground? Hacking, coughing, eyes watering. Maybe ash n stuff falling from sky. Saline eye drops are handy if you’re prone to eye irritation. Smoke on the ground was bothersome particularly at night when the winds died down in the mountains. LA basin may be different.
     
  6. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    Thanks for the input. It's not a matter of being apprehensive so much as I'll have 20+ dogs on board, and diverting to an airport where the receivers aren't creates significant logistical hassles. My point is more that if VNY is going to be hard to get in and out of, it'd be better to just make the call to go to a different airport from the get-go.

    I'll keep monitoring for now.
     
  7. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The winds could be an issue. They have been pretty wild and woolly at times.
     
  8. luvflyin

    luvflyin En-Route

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    Hope it all works out for you. That being said, you can tag the pooches with the receivers phone numbers to solve the diversion logistics problem and then...........
     
  9. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    That probably wouldn't work out too well.
     
  10. Radar Contact

    Radar Contact Cleared for Takeoff

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    Ted,

    I think you have my number? Shoot me a text on Friday night around 6 pm (little memory jogger) and I can give you an update on the status of IFR traffic into the airport for the weekend. If the airport is still accepting arrivals and they have some sort of delay program I may be able to help considering your situation.
     
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  11. luvflyin

    luvflyin En-Route

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    Did you go?
     
  12. luvflyin

    luvflyin En-Route

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    lol. Like they say "It's not what you know, It's who you know"
     
  13. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    Yes, I did go and made it back yesterday afternoon. We weren't able to see any fires, but we did see a lot of the smoke from them. We landed at John Wayne (SNA) instead of Van Nuys because that made the most sense overall.
     
  14. luvflyin

    luvflyin En-Route

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    How'd the dogs do? I'm guessing you hit some pretty rough air?
     
  15. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    The dogs did well and the air was really pretty smooth. Light chop was the worst that I got. Keep in mind that the 414 has reasonably high wing loading and it's also slow for its weight, so it handles turbulence very well.

    Coming into SNA they keep you high until very close in, so it's a real chop and drop. You can see on FlightAware:

    http://flightaware.com/live/flight/N620CA/history/20171209/2100Z/KLRU/KSNA

    We also were told to expedite our descent (2,000+ FPM) for a Gulfstream coming out of John Wayne.

    Reality was we were doing closer to 2,000 FPM down on the VSI for the last bit, followed by a pull-up to bleed off speed and then full flaps and gear. Reminds me of the following stereotyped ATC exchange:

    Southwest: "Southwest has the field in sight, requesting a visual"
    ATC: "Uhh... Southwest you're 8,000 ft above the field 5 miles out, can you make it?"
    SW: "HELL YEAH!"
    ATC: "Ok Southwest you're cleared visual approach."

    Major chop and drop, but the 414 does those pretty well. Not as well as a Navajo, but well enough.

    I was expecting more turbulence than there was. Wasn't bad at all. And the approach was fun.
     
  16. luvflyin

    luvflyin En-Route

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    HELL YEAH!!! Lol. Reminds me of PSA, not the new one, those guys could and would do anything. What about ears? Do dogs have trouble with clearing their ears?
     
  17. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    Cabin is pressurized, so not in the 414. It makes for a nice easy flight. With dogs in the cabin I avoid >500 FPM up or down.
     
  18. RudyP

    RudyP Line Up and Wait

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    I dropped off my plane for annual at Santa Maria airport and the flight from San Diego took me directly over the TFR. There wasn’t much smoke above 10k but it was eerie being surrounded by fires all around.
    D4FBF70C-5B23-4E09-9C00-B1E952D2FA38.jpeg
     
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  19. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    Those are the views that we definitely did not see, Rudy. Yikes! :eek:
     
  20. weirdjim

    weirdjim En-Route

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    The current instrument rules for what constitutes "visual contact with runway environment" came from the PSA (unpublished) HoJo1 approach to runway 9 at Lindbergh Field (San Diego). You come in over the Ocean Beach piers and when you saw the red roof of the Howard Johnson motel, we considered that the "runway environment" as we always knew exactly where we were. Sigh.

    Then there was the Chief Pilot with a cigar doing a preflight when one of the mechanics told him that the airplane might blow up if the cigar lit some fuel. Mike fixed him with a steely eye and said, "It wouldn't DARE."

    Those were the days.

    Jim
    PSA employee #521
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2017
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  21. Bradley W

    Bradley W Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Can a cessna 172 have engine problems in smoke or just normal jet motors?
     
  22. LongRoadBob

    LongRoadBob Line Up and Wait

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    I was wondering, flying over the fires surely restricts available emergency landing sites. Did that seem a little worrisome?
    Also have seen recent stories in a few papers about something I never heard of or learned in flight school. Pyrocumulus.
    Seems there are two main categories depending on the available moisture (some fires create more moisture from burning off water in vegetation) and can end up causing rain or excessive dryness and wind.