“Stay at Home” orders

Wisconsin’s “Safer at Home” order went into effect this morning. I know several other states have similar restrictions. GA is way down (as observed on my radar scope this week) in northern IL and southern WI.

In Wisconsin, people may leave their homes “to engage in outdoor activity, as long as they maintain social distancing”. If I drive to the airport, pull my plane out of the hangar, fly around for an hour, and then out the plane away without coming within 100’ of another human, does it seem reasonable that flying is “an outdoor activity”?

The counter-point is that “travel” is “expressly prohibited” except for specific circumstances.

So the question: Is flying around and looking at the ground, or shooting some practice approaches considered “travel” or “outdoor activity”? Just curious what others’ thoughts are, particularly for WI or IL residents, or those with similar restrictions in their state.

Jim M.
PA-28R-200
Based at BUU
ATC Chicago TRACON

Comments

  • Our beloved (!) governor has done the same, Jim and I certainly think that our "recreational flying" fits into the outdoor recreation category.

    Jim Torley
    CFI-A/I/G
    1969 Arrow 200
    Based at KFLY (Colorado Springs, CO)

  • Good question. I drove out to the airport yesterday, badged through one of the gates, and did some paperwork in my hangar. Closest people were the state troopers and TSA officers at least 1/4 mile away at the main terminal. Seems like a reasonable risk profile.

    Has FAA, or your TRACON, issued a COVID-19 memo or policy?

  • Hi Jim, I’ll second the recreational aspect if you are healthy, maintaining social distance, are the sole occupant of the aircraft, and returning to your point of departure; the same conditions if you were going out for a walk or run and had to drive to the trail head. How do they define travel? I “travel” to the store to buy groceries.

  • I'm in total agreement with you guys. In my case I'm going to my hangar every day to put my headliner in. I don't see or talk to anyone when I'm away from home. That is, until I go to the grocery store. So i think that we're following the spirit of the order. Stay well, everyone.

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • edited March 26

    I checked the FAA website a few days ago, and only found the standard warnings about social distancing and keeping sanitized. The way it's presented, sounds like they're referring to "unnecessary" travel to and from other countries (then they provide a list of countries), or city to city travel.

    I did not see anything about GA flight restrictions due to the virus, or restrictions for "leisure" flying.

    I suppose one could argue that going up and shooting approaches or keeping current, and then landing at the same airport you departed from does not meet the criteria of "city to city" travel since the departure and arrival airport is the same. Even in our log books, that's considered a "local" flight. Clear prop!

    Jim "Griff" Griffin
    PA28 - 161
    Chicago area

  • I am aware of limited ATC resources. It sounds like my schedule is going to be dramatically cut back in an effort to keep controllers spread out and to accommodate the reduced airline schedules. Use the system if you need it, but we all need to be mindful of the current situation and there may be times where practice approaches, touch n goes at a towered airport, etc....might not be appropriate.

    I took a really nice 2-hour long flight last week around WI without talking to anyone; it was a great exercise in enjoying GA and the ability we have to move around without having be on contact with ATC.

    Jim M.
    PA-28R-200
    Based at BUU
    ATC Chicago TRACON

  • Jim, I say fly that to your hearts content. No problem.

  • I am also in Wisconsin, and flew yesterday. I was a bit surprised how many cars and trucks were out. A bit of sad news to share about the virus. We have our first local loss. I personally know someone, who had a friend die from it.

    Jim

  • Sorry to hear that, Jim. :( As for flying, I'm busy replacing my headliner. I really need to have my head checked for doing this project, lol.

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • Here in Georgia, the order requires us to stay indoors, excepting only "outdoor exercise" (provided one maintains proper distance). I sometimes think that moving the yoke and rudder pedals is sort of like "exercise" (in my younger days I persuaded myself that "twelve ounce curls" were a form of "exercise"), but then I think that this is a time for all of us to be good little citizens and not engage is self-indulging, "creative" readings of applicable orders and guidelines.

    So, I'm torn. I really don't see what risk there is from driving to the airport by myself, flying by myself, maintaining at least 5000 feet of separation while I'm in the air, and then coming home refreshed and mentally healthier. On the other hand, I don't like when people decide which laws they will and will not obey. For now, I'm only couch flying and hoping this ends as quickly as possible.

    Skip

    Skip Kazmarek
    1976 PA-28-181 Archer II

  • All of your Piper friends are in the same quandry. Fly or watch the Smithsonion channel. :) Stay well!

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • Plenty of people out flying today! I just got my butt kicked working practice approaches into DPA and ARR combined with all of the MDW traffic.

    Jim M.
    PA-28R-200
    Based at BUU
    ATC Chicago TRACON

  • Hi Jim,
    Do you get preferential treatment? :) Stay well!

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • In New Zealand we are on total lock down. It is unlikely our borders will open until a vaccine has been administered. Air NZ has basically cancelled all international flights. Seems there are 2 a week from Auckland to Sydney, same for Melbourne. We can only leave our homes to go to the supermarket or doctor. We are having elderly pass away alone because the hospitals won't allow relatives in. I am not an advocate.

  • It's a very tough time. Some parts of the United States, like New York, New Jersey, Michign, Illinois, Florida and California are suffering greatly. Stay well please. :)

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • Here in IL (and especially in Chicago), they are now enforcing the lock-down with tickets and arrests. Wish I was kidding, but I'm not.

    Jim "Griff" Griffin
    PA28 - 161
    Chicago area

  • Sad to hear as that's where most of my family is. Stay well Griff.

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • I drove to work in Elgin today (from WI) and the roads were absolutely packed everywhere. It looked like rush hour, not a Saturday afternoon. Since everything is closed, I couldn’t figure out where everyone was going...

    Jim M.
    PA-28R-200
    Based at BUU
    ATC Chicago TRACON

  • We too are on a stay home order in Michigan. I am on the west (right) side of the state. Very few cases here. The majority of cases are in the Metro Detroit area. Some folks are out flying still - I am still working as being “essential”. I don’t see how flying by yourself or with a family member violates the “intent” of the order.

  • I was working on installing my headliner today at Racine airport south of Milwaukee on Lake Michigan. It takes a half hour to get there from my house. I didn't see one car. Very eerie.

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • We are on lock down too but I've been going to the hanger every day to work on my Cherokee which is kept in the hanger with the Premier I fly for a company. I just got my side panels in today which is the last piece of the puzzle. It all started out as an annual and wound up being a complete interior replace once the lock down happened.
    I have determined the company flight department is an essential business... so far no challenges. I actually had a flight two days ago to Myrtle Beach but no recreation on the beach though. I did call ahead and made sure I wouldn't be thrown in quarantine when I walked through the door.
    I suspect my state, West Virginia, will be coming out of the dark soon since we haven't been hit very hard here. A study out of California is saying this virus is marginally worse than last years flu so I would think after all the attacks on the scientist involved dies down things should loosen up everywhere except New York and New Orleans. I sure hope our government has learned a lesson over this shutdown.

  • Thanks for your comments and insight. Much appreciated.

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • The thing to remember about Covid-19 vs the flu is that we have had all of these deaths despite the shutdowns, where we did nothing to mitigate the flu. Had things been business as usual, the infection rate (and death toll) would have been many magnitudes greater that it was. And we are arguably only about halfway through the Coronavirus in our country right now.

    Jim M.
    PA-28R-200
    Based at BUU
    ATC Chicago TRACON

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