California’s Wildfires Affect Aviation

  • E-Mail this Article
  • View Printable Article
  • Text size:

    • A
    • A
    • A

SOCAL Approach Evacuated...

Things have returned to "normal" in the skies over southern California, if you can call flying through thick smoke and dodging fire-related TFRs normal. As AVweb reported on Monday, Californiaís ongoing battle with massive wildfires has taken its toll on aviation operations. Things took a turn for the worse on Sunday when a fire got within two miles of the FAA's Southern California Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) and it was evacuated. The facility, which covers a host of major airports and dozens of GA airports, is the busiest in the country, according to the FAA's William Shumann. "There were lots of delays but things are back to normal in southern California," Shumann told AVweb. As part of the centerís contingency plan, the facility's functions were transferred to a center in the Mojave Desert that normally handles high-altitude traffic. With the San Diego facility temporarily closed, the FAA was able to handle only a portion of the normal air traffic for Southern California airports, resulting in flight delays and cancellations throughout the nation. Shumann explained that airports remained open but airlines made the call to cancel rather than risk long delays in the air or possible diversion.