Aviator Advisory 2012
Black Rock City International Airport Advisory Information 2012
This notice serves as a pre-event ATIS-type advisory to aviators intending to land at Burning Man’s Private- Use Black Rock City International Airport. It contains many useful tips and some important rules that you MUST become familiar with to improve operational safety for you, your passengers, and all event participants.
Study this material carefully before landing at Black Rock City.
Flying in the Black Rock mountainous desert region is dangerous. Winds are treacherous, storms are sudden and violent, density altitude is high, dust storms can reduce visibility to zero, and hospitals are far away. The landing surface is unpaved, and safe landing conditions are not guaranteed. You are entirely responsible for your own safety and that of your passengers. Take any and all reasonable safety precautions, including but not limited to taking a mountain flying seminar and practicing with an instructor at a hot, high, and windy airport. Avail yourself of any and all resources to prepare for flying under these conditions.
Density altitude is a major consideration for safe flight. Be prepared for density altitude of 7500 or greater in the afternoon. Your aircraft may not be able to get off the ground under these conditions, so be very familiar with the performance of your aircraft in high density altitude operations.
By familiarizing yourself with the following materials, you will provide yourself with increased situational awareness that can save your life and the lives of others.
Airport coordinates: WGS84: 40.76200 -119.21343 GPS: N 40 45.720 W 119 12.806′
FAA Airport ID: 88NV
VOR Radial: The Airport is on the 245 radial from the Winnemucca VOR at approx 64 DME.
Field Elevation: 3904’ MSL.
Runway Alignment: 07/25 Pattern Altitude 4700 ft MSL 800ft AGL
Runway Dimensions: 5280 long by 60 feet wide and graded prior to the event.
Traffic Pattern: Right traffic for Runway 07, Left traffic for Runway 25.
Frequency: CTAF and UNICOM monitor 122.9 MHz.
Additional Info: The airport is uncontrolled, dirt surface and is not lighted. No night landings. The runway moves every year. A taxiway may or may not exist. A firm surface means no taxiway. If the surface is soft we may have a taxiway.
The airport is operated as a “Private-Use Of Public Lands” airport. You must comply with not only FAA rules but also Black Rock Airport and BLM Rules contained in this briefing. Failure to comply may result in being asked to leave the event and not allowed to return for the remainder of the event. Also be advised that there are usually FAA personnel on the field throughout the week.
No Night Operations: The airport is open from 6:00am to 7:30pm PDT. Night landings are prohibited. BRCAirportAdvisory2012.doc – version August 2012 Page 3 of 11
Black Rock City Airport is an uncontrolled field. There is no control tower. There are no Instrument Approaches. The Airport provides advisories via volunteer UNICOM operators on 122.9 MHz.
Advisory Information: This is updated as needed and is available at the Daily Pilot Briefings or at the UNICOM station.
Contact UNICOM: Upon initial contact, pilots are asked to please inform the UNICOM operator of your location and that you have the current information (See code at end of this Advisory). This informs them, and everyone else in the air, that you did your homework, which eases tensions dramatically. Information that affects safety of flight will be provided on the UNICOM frequency.
Before you depart Black Rock Airport speak to the UNICOM operator or check the white board for current weather and advisory information. If you leave the area and return, tell the operator that you have information Bravo or Charlie or whatever was current when you left. This tells them, and others, that you’re not newly inbound and that you don’t need special instructions or parking assistance.
The range of the local UNICOM radio is limited. They may hear you before you hear them.
Early Arrivals: There are no Early Arrivals without prior authorization. If you arrive before the official opening and have no written authorization you will be told to leave immediately.
Position Reports: Please Contact UNICOM and provide a position report approximately 10-14 miles out. This gives us more time to respond in case of a busy traffic pattern. Your position report should clearly state that you have the current information, or the current advisory version, as appropriate as well as your location.
8.5 miles out is over GerlachDon’t Panic if it takes UNICOM a couple minutes to respond. Make an initial position report to alert traffic already in the pattern of your arrival and somebody will be right with you.
First Arrival: When arriving for the first time contact UNICOM when clear of the active runway as they may be able to help you locate an appropriate parking spot.
Never fly your landing pattern over the city. Stay on the side of the runway opposite the event.
Runway Closure: If for some reason the runway is closed you will be notified by the UNICOM operator. If the closure is brief (because of a dust storm or to remove FOD from the runway) we may advise that you orbit outside of the landing pattern await further advisories.
Initial Arrival: When arriving for the first time, contact UNICOM when you have cleared the runway. They can give you general taxi directions, and let you know where to look for an open parking spot. Open tie down spots have a pink whisker while spots that are already taken by other aircraft will have a silver, round tin pan and perhaps tie-downs already in place.
Never taxi up to the trash fence. The areas on both sides of the fence are specifically for emergency vehicle access.
Transient Parking: If you’re just dropping off or picking up passengers please park in the transient parking area that is outside the tie-down area. Do not taxi to the terminal entrance.
Tie-Down: When you do find a parking spot you must tie your plane down immediately. This is for the safety of your aircraft as well as the aircraft around you. Very strong windstorms do occur and we don’t want your aircraft to become a hazard to others.
Tie-Down Material: You are responsible for bringing, installing and removing (at the end of your stay) your own tie-downs. Many pilots use 2-3 pieces of rebar per tie-down point along with an adequate length of rope. We recommend http://www.flyties.com as an excellent and easy-to-use alternative to rebar. They’re very easy to both install and remove. As a service to pilots, the airport loans hammers and rebar pullers.
Always park in your spot: If you need to change places, just ask the on-duty Customs Supervisor to help you get a new spot.
Flying during the event: If you plan to fly a lot during the event, please park at the edge of the tie-down area, away from the fence and the village.
Do NOT park close to other planes: This is not Oshkosh and we do not need to cram the planes together. There’s plenty of room for everyone. Leave at least 2/3 of a wingspan between your wingtip and your neighbors. Leave more if their plane is really nice or appears heavily armed.
Airplane Camping: Tie downs south of the large Terminal lane, rows A through E are reserved for those camping with their aircraft during the event.
Pilot Briefings are Mandatory: Other than transient aircraft not returning, departures are not permitted until you attend a pilot briefing. Briefings are available at our scheduled morning pilot meetings. Impromptu briefings are available, but not guaranteed. Inquire at UNICOM when you arrive for details. A Briefing is required for ALL pilots of ALL flying machines (airplanes, helicopters, Powered and non-powered paragliders, gliders, blimps, hot air balloons, space ships, etc….). The Air Commander is required for briefings of pilots of anything other than fixed wing airplanes or helicopters.
Advisory Information: The UNICOM station has current temperature, Altimeter Setting, Density Altitude Charts, Sectionals, and a variety of other useful stuff. Get the latest Advisory Information before each flight, as well as all available information pertinent to your intended operation.
Pull Out: If possible, pull your plane out of the parking spot and turned into the traffic lane before starting your engine(s). Position the plane perpendicular to the parked aircraft so your prop wash goes down the movement lane, and not onto other planes and/or camps. If you need help just ask anyone around you. Airplane campers nearby will usually be happy to help so their tent doesn’t get dusted.
Tickets and Fees
BURNING MAN IS SOLD OUT. DO NOT FLY TO THE EVENT UNLESS YOU AND ALL YOUR PASSENGERS WHO ARE ATTENDING ALREADY HAVE TICKETS IN HAND OR WAITING AT WILL-CALL.
Will-Call tickets are available at the Terminal throughout the week. Customs Agents can assist you when you arrive.
Airport Parking Fee: There is a minimum of $20 per person entering the event through the airport gate for the first time this year. This one-time fee is good for the entire week. Our expenses are much greater than that so if you can donate additional money please do so. You can even pay your fee ahead of time by going to www.portofentry.org . The airport Box Office will have a list of those that pre-pay.
Transient Aircraft Fee: The fee for transient aircraft is $20 per passenger that goes through the airport gate. This must be paid at the time of arrival.
MED-EVAC Helicopters: Be alert for arriving and departing MED-EVAC helicopters. They may not be on frequency but they still have priority over all other departing and arriving aircraft. The MED-EVAC helicopter landing site is shown on the airport diagram.
Wind Direction: Prevailing winds are generally out of the SW, but high-pressure systems sitting offshore or just inland typically send us winds circulating out of the N-NE. It’s the desert, and the weather can be quite varied.
Landing Techniques: Every pilot who lands here more than once uses soft-field techniques. With a 5,000 foot runway and absolutely no obstacles at either end for many miles there is no need for short-field operations.
Density Altitude: This is a genuine concern at Black Rock City Airport and usually ranges from 5000’ to 8000’. ATC radar services are available above 10,000 feet and many VFR pilots get Flight Following to Black Rock City Airport.
Reno ATC: The controllers in Reno are familiar with our location, and it’s OK to give them Burning Man or Black Rock City as your destination when requesting flight following. However, if you’re lower than 10,000 feet they will most likely end radar services with you around Pyramid Lake. By that point you may hear other aircraft in the pattern at Black Rock but you will not hear the UNICOM operator (nor will they hear you that far out).
Mid-Day Flying: The hottest and bumpiest time of day in the desert is in the afternoon. Most folks avoid landing during that time, preferring to arrive in early morning or early evening before dark.
Weather: Afternoon thunderstorms are not uncommon in this desert. Stay alert to rapid weather changes.
Pilot Briefings: If you want to do any flying during the event you must obtain a Pilot Briefing. Briefings are held each morning at the airport terminal. This Briefing is required for ALL pilots of all flying machines (airplanes, helicopters, Powered and non-powered paragliders, gliders, blimps, hot air balloons, space ships, etc….).
Rotation: The accepted practice is to circle the city just outside the trash fence at 5500’ MSL or greater in a clockwise direction. This is called the Scenic Pattern (as opposed to the Landing Pattern).
Do not fly counterclockwise around the event. This is very dangerous as everyone else will be going the other way.
Altitudes: Scenic Pattern circuits are spaced at 500’ intervals starting at 5500’ MSL (e.g., 5500’, 6000’, 6500’). Enter and leave the circuit at its altitude; do not climb or descend in the Scenic Pattern.
Faster aircraft are advised to use higher altitudes such as 6000’ or 6500’.
Position reports are to be made with reference to The Man. The accepted practice is to announce yourself at 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock, 9 o’clock and 12 o’clock to The Man and to include altitude. This may occasionally be difficult due to congestion on the frequency. Just do the best you can and if you’re at 4:20 to the Man, say so – which, by the way, is directly over the Airport.
When making position reports, do not use your call-sign for identification. Nobody can see it anyway. Use words like Blue Cessna, White Mooney, Red-White-And-Blue Biplane, etc. A perfect position report would be, “Silver High-Wing, 8 o’clock, 5500”. This helps pilots who may not know what to look for when someone says they have a Bellanca or a Yak.
Over-flight of the city: Black Rock City Airport regulation states that you must overfly the city above 8,000 feet MSL.
Flight over congested areas: 14CFR Part 91 states that aircraft shall not fly over a large gathering of people at an altitude less than 1000’ AGL. Burning Man qualifies as a large gathering. Expect to receive FAA enforcement action for a violation. Seriously.
Best views for photos: The Scenic Pattern puts the pilot on the wing-up (left) side of the plane and passengers with cameras on the wing-down (right) side.
Keep Scenic Flights and Landing Patterns Separate: There is enough space between the City Limits and the runway so that scenic flights do not interfere with landing traffic. No Direct To Final entry from the Scenic Pattern to the Landing Pattern of runway 25 or 7. You must depart the scenic pattern away from the event and then enter the landing pattern on the 45 for left traffic runway 25 or right traffic runway 7.
Passengers: Your passengers will need a special wristband to go through the gate and enter the tie-down area and must be accompanied by a pilot or Customs Agent at all times. Customs Agents will assist you.
Be mindful of other aircraft in the area. Some aircraft may not be on frequency or know the correct pattern to fly as they’re not part of the event. Keep your eyes open.
No Fuel: There is no aviation fuel available to you at BRC unless you or your campmates bring it. Do not fly to
Black Rock City without enough reserves to safely fly to a nearby airport that has fuel.
Theft: Those caught stealing fuel will be arrested immediately and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
No Cellular Service: There are no phones in Black Rock City, and cellular phones do NOT work. There may be wireless internet available near Center Camp.
Contacting Flight Service Station: Flight Service Station can usually be reached at altitudes above 8,000 feet so you’ll need to close flight plans in the air well prior to landing.
Close your Flight Plane prior to landing: If you fail to close your flight plan before landing the only real solution is to depart and climb above 8,000 feet and contact the Flight Service Station. If you do not close your flight plan, they will come looking for you. A satellite phone is available at the airport in an emergency.
Preparation: All arriving aviators are expected to have read the sections on the Burning Man website that pertain to the Airport and its operations, this advisory information, and reviewed the Airport layout diagram posted on the http://www.portofentry.org website.
Emergency landings in the desert: Always bring enough water and gear to survive an emergency landing in the desert. Rescue is not guaranteed, and it may not arrive for hours or even days if they can find you. Be prepared.
Do’s and Don’ts
Do Not make turns below 500’ AGL (4400’ MSL) except as you decide are needed under emergency circumstances. Fly fully stabilized approaches and departures. A tight turn and stall near the ground can ruin our whole day, and it has happened here with dire results.
Do Not dust out your neighbors with your prop wash.
Do observe all applicable rules. Infractions of local rules, disregard for public safety and random acts of aerial mayhem will likely be witnessed by FAA representatives from Reno FSDO, who are usually present throughout the event. You have been warned.
Do Not EVER taxi onto the runway for take-off in front of aircraft on final for landing. You risk getting overrun, and you can blind the landing aircraft with a cloud of propwash dust. Be patient! Monitor CTAF, listen and watch for landing aircraft, announce your intentions, and be courteous. Remember, flying aircraft have the right of way over those on the ground. If it’s really busy, and you’re worried about engine temps, shut down for a while until everyone lands.
Do be mindful of other traffic, including aircraft, ultralights, skydivers, towed gliders, helicopters, tethered balloons, and vehicles on the ground. It can get crowded up there especially the weekend of the burn.
Do Not taxi up to the trash fence—ever. The area on both sides of the trash fence are specifically for emergency vehicle access.
Do Not cross the trash fence to get to and from aircraft. All pilots and passengers must proceed through the Airport Terminal.
Do Not try to fly to the local hot springs. They are off-limits to Burning Man participants. The BLM monitors the area and they are zealous about issuing citations. The nearest open hot springs are to the north on the Alvord Desert. If you’re interested in flying there and need additional information please ask an airport volunteer.
Do Not arrive at the event prior to Monday August 29th. There are no Early Arrivals without prior authorization. If you arrive before the official opening and have no authorization you will be told to leave immediately.
Do be mindful of FAA regulations regarding flights for compensation.
Do be a good ambassador. Please do not do anything to cast the Airport or our operations in a negative light to the citizens of BRC. They are just like the citizens of any other metro area—largely uninformed about general aviation and laboring under the false hype and hysteria from the media.
Do fly only when you are physically rested and in an alert, coherent, properly hydrated condition. Observe the commonly known “eight hours (minimum) bottle-to-throttle”. This is a friendly reminder from all the people who don’t want you to involve them in your accident.
The Airport Village has a Terminal, The Phoenix Bar, the Black Rock Travel Agency FBO, a Ticket Office, hangars, porta-potties, and camping areas. It is its own camp community and welcomes aviators, people interested in aviation, and people interested in having a great time.
Plane Camping: You may camp with your plane or inside the airport village if you like.
Terminal: The Terminal is divided into two sections: Arrivals and Departures. All pilots and passengers arriving for the first time must proceed to the Arrivals hall and clear Customs and Immigration. Departing pilots and passengers must proceed to their aircraft via the Departure Gate. Pilots and passengers will not be allowed ramp/ tie-down area access without a special wristband. Please contact a Customs agent for wristbands.
Arriving passengers may be met outside the Arrivals hall.
Airport Information: Airport Information Desk is usually staffed during normal Airport hours.
Charter Flight Schedule: Charter flight arrivals and departures are posted on a board near the Information Desk. Charter flight passengers should check in 30 minutes prior to scheduled departure.
The Phoenix Bar is a shaded lounge, waiting area, and meeting point in the airport terminal.
The Black Rock Travel Agency FBO and Pilots lounge is located adjacent from the Terminal. BRTA has provided drinks, dancing, debauchery, and disinformation to the Airport community since 1997.
The Ticket Office and Airport Management is the white and red striped trailer located next to the Terminal.
Porta-potties are located along the trash fence beyond the Hangars. Please do not leave trash in the porta- potties!
Garbage Service: There is no garbage service. Everything that you bring you must pack out with you when you leave. This includes things that you think we might need like old bicycles.
Bike Parking: There are bike racks available. Please use them. Do not leave your bike on the roadway in the way of arriving and departing mutant vehicles.
Message Board and Rider Board: Located in the Terminal
Pancake Breakfast is held on Thursday morning until the food runs out. Everyone is invited. Storage Containers near the airport office are reserved for airport equipment and supplies.
You now have the advisory information for 2012. Upon arrival let UNICOM know. that you have information “Heavy Breathing”.