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Special Bulletin: Aerial Traffic Surveillance of East Coast is Not Guaranteed Through October 1st Due to Military Exercises. Recall that on September 11, 2001, war games were held that disabled Air Force ability to respond to threats.

Posted on Wednesday, 9th September 2015 @ 12:02 PM by Text Size A | A | A

Recall that on September 11, 2001, war games were held that disabled Air Force ability to respond to threats.


A notam issued Sept. 1 announced that, beginning Sept. 2, both ADS-B surveillance and TCAS may be unreliable in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, as well as in airspace extending approximately 200 nautical miles off shore. The situation is expected to last through Oct. 1 as a result of military exercises in the area.

This is not my area of expertise, so I encourage readers to do their own research and decide for themselves whether or not this concerning. Given the fact so many people are extremely skittish about “something happening” this month, I thought it was curious enough to share.

In a nutshell, it appears that aerial surveillance across much of the East Coast will be impaired until October 1 due to “military activities.” We learn from the NBAA (National Business Aviation Association) that:

TCAS, ADS-B Unreliable in Southeast U.S. Beginning Sept. 2

Sept. 1, 2015

Due to military activities, the TCAS and ADS-B surveillance may be unreliable in the airspace over Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, and extending approximately 200 nautical miles offshore, from 1 a.m. EDT (0500z) Sept. 2 until midnight EDT (0459z) on Oct. 1.

Pilots are advised that the traffic alert and TCAS may fail to establish tracks on nearby aircraft and may fail to receive traffic alerts (TA) or resolution advisories (RA). Operators should be aware that tracks may first appear within close proximity to their aircraft, and may immediately go into TA/RA status.

Pilots are advised to maintain an increased visual awareness in this area. If operators believe that an aircraft should have triggered an alert, the incident should be reported to air traffic control as soon as possible.

This is due to a late notice Department of Defense exercise, and NBAA has voiced its concern to the FAA that these sort of significant impact tests need much more notice to operators in the NAS.

The NOTAM numbers are as follows:

  • 5/2817 New York Center (ZNY)
  • 5/2818 Washington Center (ZDC)
  • 5/2819 Jacksonville Center (ZJX)
  • 5/2820 Miami Center (ZMA)
  • 5/2834 NY Oceanic (ZWY)

Text from the ZNY NOTAM:

FDC 5/2817 (KZNY A0369/15) ZNY VA..SPECIAL NOTICE…DUE TO MILITARY ACTIVITIES ON 1030/1090 MHZ, THE TRAFFIC ALERT AND COLLISION AVOIDANCE SYSTEM (TCAS) AND AUTOMATIC DEPENDENT SYSTEM BROADCAST (ADS-B) SURVEILLANCE MAY BE UNRELIABLE IN THE AIRSPACE OVER THE STATES OF VIRGINIA, NORTH CAROLINA, SOUTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA, AND FLORIDA, AND EXTENDING APPROXIMATELY 200NM OFFSHORE. PILOTS ARE ADVISED THAT THE TRAFFIC ALERT AND COLLISION AVOIDANCE SYSTEM (TCAS) MAY FAIL TO ESTABLISH TRACKS ON NEARBY AIRCRAFT AND MAY FAIL TO RECEIVE TRAFFIC ALERTS (TA) AND/OR RESOLUTION ADVISORIES (RA). FURTHER, PILOTS ARE ADVISED THAT TRACKS MAY FIRST APPEAR WITHIN CLOSE PROXIMITY TO THEIR AIRCRAFT AND MAY IMMEDIATELY GO INTO TA/RA STATUS. FALSE ALERTS ARE NOT EXPECTED TO BE GENERATED BY THIS MILITARY ACTIVITY AND ANY ALERTS SHALL BE TREATED AS REAL. PILOTS ARE ADVISED TO MAINTAIN AN INCREASED VISUAL AWARENESS IN THIS AREA. IF THE PILOT BELIEVES THAT AN AIRCRAFT SHOULD HAVE TRIGGERED AN ALERT, THE INCIDENCE SHOULD BE REPORTED TO AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL AT THE EARLIEST OPPORTUNE MOMENT. SFC-FL500 1509020500-1510010459

Apparently, this is concerning enough that AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) is asking for answers. From AOPA.org:

September 4, 2015 

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