Tough airspace restrictions took effect within an 45nm (83km) radius of Salt Lake City, Utah, on 8 February to tighten security surrounding the 2002 Winter Olympics. The measures, which include a total ban on general aviation flying and restrictions on business aircraft movements, will continue until the games close on 24 February.

The security restrictions established by Special Federal Aviation Regulation 95 include a total ban on flying - except law enforcement, aeromedical and military - within the so-called Olympic ring airspace for 4h during the opening and closing ceremonies. GA flying is prohibited for the duration of the games, forcing flight schools to move operations outside the ring. Everything from shrimp spotting to helicopter skiing has been banned. "We do not want any unusual flight profiles," says Tom Davidson, FAA air traffic customer advocate.

Except for the two 4h blocks, commercial airline operations are expected to continue as normal, but business aircraft are only allowed to enter Olympic airspace via four gateway airports, where the aircraft, passengers, baggage and crew are inspected by special security teams. After clearing inspection, the aircraft must proceed directly to its destination within the ring without deviating from the filed flight plan, says Davidson.

As well as gateways of Boise, Colorado Springs, Grand Junction and Las Vegas, four airports are available just outside the ring where Olympic visitors can park their aircraft. Davidson says special traffic management plans at these airports will help cope with the expected congestion. These require operators to reserve a position 72h before arrival.

Additional temporary flight restrictions are in place over the Olympic village and venues dispersed widely within the ring, says Davidson.

Source: Flight International