Thursday, June 01, 2017

Flare Stack Unserviceable

I love this NOTAM. It's in oil country, just north of Edmonton and advises pilots that the flare stack, a pipe with gouts of flame shooting out the top, is currently not doing that thing. One often sees NOTAMs for things that are on fire, so one for something that is not on approach fire amuses me. I can think of two possible reasons why it is NOTAMed. One is that pilots are using the stack as a navigation beacon for night VFR, and the other, more likely one, is that the stack is close enough to the Josephburg aerodrome that its lack of illumination could cause a hazard for aircraft maneuvering to land. I've used Josephburg and remember the plant just past the runway, but not that the stack was worrisome.

160266 CYEG EDMONTON/JOSEPHBURG
CFB6 OBST FLARE STACK FLAME U/S 534751N 1130559W
(APRX 4 NM N AD) 310 FT AGL 2354 MSL
1604051926 TIL 1604191900

And then there's this one.

CZEG AIRBORNE LASER ACT IN AREA BOUNDED BY
81N 90W-81N 70W-78N 70W-78N 90W-81N 90W. ACFT AT 1500 FT AGL.
LASER BEAM IS PROJECTED FM ACFT IN THE NADIR DIRECTION. LASER BEAM
MAY BE HAZARDOUS IF VIEWED DIRECTLY ON AXIS WITHIN 935 FT OF ACFT.
THE BEAM WILL BE IMMEDIATELY TERMINATED BY THE OPR IF ANY ACFT ARE
DETECTED THAT MAY ENTER THE HAZARDOUS AREA.
1604181100 TIL 1604181900

So long as you're 936 feet or more away, there's no hazard. I don't know where they came up with that. It's 285 m, so not a really round number there, either. Also the airborne laser thing isn't me anymore. Used to be. But never that far north. I think the Canadian Armed Forces are testing a super weapon to stop the Russians from coming in and messing with the Canadian Arctic. Another line of defense, should they make it past the trained polar bear attack squadron, and the Rangers in bunny hugs.

6 comments:

David Marshall said...

A clueless observer comment: When I plug what looks like the GPS from that NOTAM into an online map, I get a farm about 28 km south of the aerodrome. Would be interested to know what I'm getting wrong.

Aviatrix said...

Could be a typo in the NOTAM. Few pilots plot things like that, just going by the description. I plotted the coordinates for a a logging longlining operation, and discovered it to be in the ocean. The briefer who confirmedthe error said the NOTAM had been out for months.

Unknown said...

Not a typo in this case.
The GPS coordinates in the NOTAM are given in ICAO format of degrees/minutes/seconds, not as decimal degrees.
Canadian NOTAM Procedures Manual pg 13

Aviatrix said...

I didn't check David's plotting. Good sleuthing, Unknown, to figure out the assumption he had made. Have decimal degrees become standard in the non-aviation world now? The people I work with sometimes give me decimal degrees, and I have to convert in my head (thank you, ancient Babylonians) but I thought that was the resultof their bad software. I didn't expect a self-identified clueless observer to default to decimal degrees.

David Marshall said...

Thanks, Unknown...should have thought of the possibility myself, especially because I don't use decimal degrees that often (more often degrees and decimal minutes, because that's what my handheld GPS defaulted to for years).

Unknown said...

I doubt decimal degrees are the defacto standard, but given a series of 6 and 8 numbers like 534751N 1130559W (which won't work in e.g. GoogleMaps), I can certainly see the first attempt by a reasonable uninformed person may be to add a decimal point like 53.4751N 113.0559W (which works, but yields wrong location), rather than separating into 3 groups each like 53 47 51N 113 05 59W (which also works AND gives the correct location) or using special symbols like 53°47'51"N 113°05'59"W (also works correctly).
GoogleMaps Lat/Lon entry formats