I was recently asked whether a pilot should call flight service and obtain a briefing for every flight. The example was given of a short flight across town from Minneapolis Crystal (KMIC) to Minneapolis Flying Cloud (KFCM). My advice is “YES”!
Since 9/11, temporary flight restrictions (“TFR’s”) pop up in multiple locations throughout the country. Sporting events, visits by national leaders, other events and “sensitive locations” result in numerous TFR’s. Although some of the TFR’s have been anything but “temporary”, by and large many of the TFR’s have been of limited duration.
One of the biggest problems with the TFR’s, other than being inconvenient and of questionable need and benefit, is that they come and go with little prior notice. The other issue has been trying to actually interpret a NOTAM creating a TFR with respect to a sectional chart in order to figure out exactly where the TFR is located. The FAA has only recently done a better job of providing advance notice of pending TFR’s and graphical listing of TFR’s. Organizations such as AOPA and EAA have also stepped in and assisted in providing notice and graphical representations of the TFR’s.
The nature of the TFR’s and the manner in which they are being disseminated require that a conservative, prudent pilot contact flight service for all flights to determine whether any TFR’s affect the intended route of flight. Failure to obtain this critical information can result in a close-up inspection of one or more of our nation’s fighter aircraft and/or an extended session of hangar-flying while your airman certificate is suspended. Don’t let this happen to you. Fly safe and fly smart.