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Author Topic: Acro Box  (Read 1022 times)

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ErikU

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Acro Box
« on: May 28, 2017, 12:19:34 AM »
I'm posting with my naivete in hopes the answer may help inform others...

I was flying VFR near Salinas, CA the other day and ATC advised me that my route and altitude would put me through the middle of an acro box.  I appreciated the call, and is yet another reason I almost always use flight following. 

This box didn't show up as a TFR, and I'm pretty certain it wasn't associated with an airshow.  My question for those that know: What is this box?  If not a TFR, is it regulatory, or advisory only?  How was I supposed to find out about it?  If via a call to flight service,... well, that's not good.  I doubt very many people actually make that phone call any more as we all assume these things show up on foreflight, etc...  If it were a simple NOTAM, I'm not sure how I am supposed to know about every one on a 800 mi trip.

BE-35 'S' Bonanza - Seattle - BFI

N804RV

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Re: Acro Box
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2017, 06:47:58 AM »
The Tuitima Academy (Sean Tucker's) aerobatic school is at King City (KIC).  I'm sure they have a regular aerobatic box.  Its just a piece of airspace that is routinely used for aerobatic training/practice, so it becomes a thing. Its not official, and I don't believe ATC would even mention it unless he happened to know it was active.  There's one east of Boeing field as well.

Aerobatic boxes came about as a way for pilots wanting to practice aerobatic maneuvers to stay clear of airways and instrument approach corridors near high density areas.  Not much different than and FBO's "training areas". 
« Last Edit: May 28, 2017, 06:56:18 AM by N804RV »
Ken W.
Mount Vernon, WA

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hotrod180

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Re: Acro Box
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2017, 07:55:28 AM »
I believe that regularly-used aerobatic boxes are NOTAM'd active when in use, or at least they're supposed to be.
In a perfect world, you would be notified when getting a FSS briefing for a flight between A & B if your route took you through or near it.
But I don't know how often that happens in real life.

smutny

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Re: Acro Box
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2017, 08:41:13 AM »
First off, it was incorrect for the controller to refer to the area as an "acro box", they are officially known as an Aerobatic Practice Area (APA).  The FAA has started encouraging the aerobatic community to apply for and create APA's and have streamlined the process for getting one.  While NOTAM's may be issued, it's not mandatory if you are complying with the FAR's.  If you have a waiver in place for a contest or practice, then a NOTAM should be issued.  As time progresses, you will start seeing more APA symbols on the sectionals (glider with an A in the diamond), but until then, as we are granted APA's ATC will advise pilots as they transit the area, if you're using their services.
John Smutny

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will moffitt

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Re: Acro Box
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2017, 08:54:42 AM »
That is something I have been wanting to look into.  Would it do me any good, or for that matter anyone else.   I plan to practice today.  I use a lonely area that has a small airport on the island that is within reach.  I live under Whidbeys area and know when they are flying. Been meaning to call you John, for a little advice.  Also is there someone in my area with the common interest, kinda lonely up here. 

will

hotrod180

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Re: Acro Box
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2017, 09:04:01 PM »
I believe you're not supposed to do acro on an airway, keeping in mind that airways are like 4 miles wide.
Not sure if there's any rules about doing it near an airport or not.

Domenick

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Re: Acro Box
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2017, 09:11:09 AM »
...There's one east of Boeing field as well.

Where east of BFI? With the SEA Class B and BFI's and RNT's class Ds it seems an odd place to stick an APA.
Domenick
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N804RV

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Re: Acro Box
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2017, 09:40:44 AM »
...There's one east of Boeing field as well.


Where east of BFI? With the SEA Class B and BFI's and RNT's class Ds it seems an odd place to stick an APA.


Here: 
Ken W.
Mount Vernon, WA

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ErikU

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Re: Acro Box
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2017, 10:43:22 AM »
Thanks for the info.  It would be much more useful if they were shown on charts.  A couple clarifying questions:  When the airspace is waivered for an event, is that regulatory, or advisory?   I thought only a TFR was regulatory.

BE-35 'S' Bonanza - Seattle - BFI

smutny

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Re: Acro Box
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2017, 11:10:46 AM »
Where east of BFI? With the SEA Class B and BFI's and RNT's class Ds it seems an odd place to stick an APA.

Ken's graphic shows the area, a number of us practice there.  However, no one has yet applied for an APA as far as I know.  When the air combat guys are here operating out of BFI, they file a NOTAM for their operations.
John Smutny

Life is not a journey to the grave intending of arriving safely in a well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, used up, worn out, and loudly proclaiming: Damn, what a ride!

smutny

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Re: Acro Box
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2017, 11:15:10 AM »
Thanks for the info.  It would be much more useful if they were shown on charts.

You'll start to see more of them as the charts get updated.

A couple clarifying questions:  When the airspace is waivered for an event, is that regulatory, or advisory?   I thought only a TFR was regulatory.

You are correct.  An air show will have a TFR as the air boss controls the airspace.  Contests and practice events will file a NOTAM only as they do not control the airspace. We have observers to watch for transient traffic, but we do not control transient traffic.  That being said, some IAC members don't quite get that a waiver does not give them airspace control and may try to tell a transient what to do which we cannot.  It's an education thing we need to work on.
John Smutny

Life is not a journey to the grave intending of arriving safely in a well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, used up, worn out, and loudly proclaiming: Damn, what a ride!

tonyrob

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Re: Acro Box
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2017, 01:33:50 PM »
Slightly different in Canada
In Canada Class F Airspace is restricted. There are several reasons for Class F, one of which is "for aerobatic use" and that type of Class F also carries the designation CYA.  Some class F airspace is permanently restricted, whereas CYA is restricted by NOTAM when in use.

Tony
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Domenick

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Re: Acro Box
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2017, 08:08:08 AM »
Slightly different in Canada
In Canada Class F Airspace is restricted. There are several reasons for Class F, one of which is "for aerobatic use" and that type of Class F also carries the designation CYA.  Some class F airspace is permanently restricted, whereas CYA is restricted by NOTAM when in use.

"CYA" is that a joke? If so, very droll. :)
Domenick
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Snohomish, WA, Harvey Field, S43

OnYourSix

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Re: Acro Box
« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2017, 02:50:47 PM »
There is a nice APA over at EPH too.  I see that one used frequently when I operate over on the other side of the mountains.

groupw

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Re: Acro Box
« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2017, 05:52:08 PM »
Thanks for the info.  It would be much more useful if they were shown on charts.

You'll start to see more of them as the charts get updated.

A couple clarifying questions:  When the airspace is waivered for an event, is that regulatory, or advisory?   I thought only a TFR was regulatory.

You are correct.  An air show will have a TFR as the air boss controls the airspace.  Contests and practice events will file a NOTAM only as they do not control the airspace. We have observers to watch for transient traffic, but we do not control transient traffic.  That being said, some IAC members don't quite get that a waiver does not give them airspace control and may try to tell a transient what to do which we cannot.  It's an education thing we need to work on.
I have a suggestion. I just got ADS-B installed in my airplane and am really impressed by the number of aircraft I can see with it. Unless you're already doing it, you might consider setting up an ADS-B in display and having one of your transient aircraft observers keep an eye on it. There are low cost units like the "Stratux" and a host of other portable units. One of those plus an iPad or Android pad running Foreflight or any of the other similar apps is all you'd need. Without ADS-B out it wouldn't reliably see all aircraft in the vicinity but there are probably enough ADS-B out-equipped planes in the vicinity to cause the system to broadcast the positions of most of them. So it could function as another set of (imperfect) eyes. I'll be glad to lend you mine while I'm there, but I won't be there for the entire duration so maybe you could combine my offer with others or find someone who would stay for the whole event and lend you a portable unit and pad.

My hat's off to you and all the others who put in so much time and work to make Arlington happen. Thanks!

Roy
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