Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Restricted Doesn't Mean Impassable

Canadians use the "class F" airspace designation a little differently than the ICAO standard, and Americans skip F altogether in their airspace alphabet. Canadian flight students learn to distinguish between two types of Class F airspace: advisory and restricted. The advisory area is designated with a numeric code prefixed with CYA and there are no restrictions for entering it, but non-participating aircraft are advised to remain clear. It may exist for flight training, aerobatics, parachuting or some other activity that it's inadvisable to go cruising through the middle of. Restricted airspace is designated with a CYR prefix and it is illegal to enter it without permission of the controlling agency. I'm sure I post gleefully about this every time I do it, but I always feel extra smart when I act on the second half of that phrasing.

We're working up by Cold Lake, a large military base, and there aere several areas of restricted airspace around it. The one that most concerns us is based at 7000 feet and active only weekdays from 15 to 01Z. I think we can work around this four-dimensional restriction, but if it works out that we can't, I want to be able to get permission quickly, without making several phone calls and having to talk to someone who is at a conference in New Brunswick this week. Ordinarily I would look up the name and number of the controlling agency in the Designated Airspace Handbook, but the Internet connection at the hotel is slow and intermittent, so I call a Nav Canada briefer instead. She puts me on hold, most likely to consult a paper copy of the same handbook, and gives me a phone number and extension. The person who answers that phone listens to my request and transfers me to the terminal controller. He says it shouldn't be a problem, unless something is going on at the time, in which case it's a problem. He gives me a frequency to call airborne if I need in to the restricted airspace.

This is just the way MOAs work in the US, but that word "restricted" and the fact that you have to make phone calls because the frequencies aren't all printed on the charts. I guess it's not surprising that I get a kick out of working in restricted airspace when you consider that I still grin inside as I go through the "authorized personnel only" doors. I still remember the very first time I did that.

My room is one an "accessible" room, which usually is just a little weird, but this one has a couple of oddities I haven't seen before. There is no shower door or curtain, just an open space through which one could transfer from a wheelchair to the shower seat. Yes, the water does get out all over the floor. Also there is no toilet paper roll holder, the rolls are just left on the top of the toilet tank. Presumably they couldn't come up with a design and position that didn't interfere with transferring from a chair to the toilet seat but that was still operable by someone with limited mobility.

And I was wrong about the Canadian Tire. Maybe later.


townmouse said...

CYR = Consider Yourself Restricted?

We have an opposite situation round here. The military aircraft aren't allowed to fly over the geese feeding grounds near the coast (the rest of the skies above us are their training playground) because a) it disturbs the geese and b) once one low flying military jet has gone over and put 10,000 geese in the air, it's bad for the planes. They're only restricted during the winter, but it seems the military can't handle 4-dimensional restrictions either so they just avoid the area altogether.

dpierce said...

CYR = Cover Your Rear (before entering area)

CYA has a related acronym