What’s your “Boogie Man” dream? Maybe it’s the one where you’ve slept through a final exam, or gone to school only to realize you’re not wearing pants. You know you have a dream that haunts you. C’mon, fess-up. We all have a dream like that, where you wake up with rapid breathing and you’re just starting to sweat. But as scary as the dream is, you do wake up. And once you come to your senses, you know the Boogie Man got you again. But it was only a dream. And you know you’ll have it again. Maybe it’s the recurrence that is really so creepy about the dream. Dream? Hah, it’s a nightmare!
Aviation has its own version of the Boogie Man nightmare. The dream is like an imaginary game of “WHACK-A-MOLE,” where, instead of moles, you find Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs) to deal with.
WTF Al? How can a silly carnival game that you can cheat at and win a massive stuffed animal give you nightmares?
Well, the moles that pop up in an aviation sense can strip me of my passion, dreams, and livelihood! I could lose it all! There is no beating the system and cheating or a comfy stuffed animal. During this election year, and especially in the Chicago area where I live, this isn’t a dream. It’s real. When the POTUS comes to town for a fund-raiser, we’re gonna get a Presidential TFR pop up in our Notice To Airmen (NOTAM). And, when any of the election contenders want a piece of the political action in the Windy City, we’re gonna get a VIP TFR. Being a pilot in Chicago, I see these things are popping up left and right, as Chicago is a huge campaign and money hub for the presidential election. Chicago isn’t alone in this game, as pilots in must-win states can tell you. Can you win this game? Well, Punk, can you? (I’m sorry for the Dirty Harry line, but it fits perfectly here.)
If one of these bad boys pops up and you don’t pay attention to it bad things happen. You get arrested, violated, questioned and highlighted on CNN. It’s not fun. Oh, did I also forget to mention the fighter jets that will come and either shoot you down or escort you out of the area and bring you to a landing welcomed with handcuffs? Yeah....that too. Let's put it this way, you will not win a neon-colored massive stuffed animal to give to your girlfriend.
This is a real threat while flying. I am having nightmares about hitting these TFR's left and right. It has now developed into my nervous twitch while flying. The campaign trail is literally a chunk of sky that is carved out to be off limits. Unfortunately, it puts a massive damper on the way I, and other pilots, make our livings. Our wings are clipped and we cannot provide the essential air services that provide our wages, or help other people earn their wages. Well known aviation blogger, Todd McClamroch, has a great technical blog article on understanding and flying in the presidential TFR. Check it out here at MyFlightBlog.com. If you want to see what's out there right now, click on this link and see real time where the FAA TFR's are at!
It's a pretty tricky and sticky situation. I just pray that my dreams don't come true and I don't hit one of these bad boys. To be honest with you, I don't want one of those things that goes bump in the night coming in to get me a.k.a. the Boogie Man and Presidential TFR.
What is your Boogie Man?