"The 2013 America's Cup Race" – FAASafety.gov

faastAmerica’s Cup Races will be held on the San Francisco Bay July 4, 2013 through September 21, 2013.  The approximate times are 1000-1700PDT daily (For specific race schedules:  http://www.americascup.com/en/events

– The race course is located on the San Francisco Bay, to the south of Alcatraz Island, along the northern shoreline of the City of San Francisco, from the Presidio (Golden Gate National Recreation Area) to Treasure Island. 

– The airspace above the event includes Class G from the surface to 700’AGL and Class E from 700’ to the overlying San Francisco Class B Airspace (Area G, Floor 3000’MSL) and Oakland Class C Airspace Outer Ring (Floor 1500’MSL).   Refer to the San Francisco VFR Terminal Area Chart for navigation and airspace limits.

– During actual race events, there will be extensive helicopter activity over the entire race course and the City of San Francisco at and below 1500’.  Operations will include:  A commercial helicopter operator engaged in filming the event. 

There will be airshows on July 4 (1000PDT-1400PDT and July 5 (1000PDT-1400PDT).  An aerobatic box will be in effect along the northern shoreline of San Francisco extending from the surface to 5000’MSL.  See NOTAM for information.

– From July 4 through September 22, weather patterns for the San Francisco Bay near the Golden Gate Bridge include frequent stratus clouds in the morning and late afternoon/evening.  These conditions can also persist through an entire day.  Pilots should review VFR weather minimums and exercise caution when clouds or restrictions to visibility are present.  Strong surface winds can be expected over the bay during summer months and the availability of emergency landing locations are limited.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR GENERAL AVIATION (GA) The America’s Cup is a major event and it is anticipated that there will be a high level of VFR air traffic in the vicinity of the races for sightseeing and other purposes.  The airspace over the event is complex and allows only a narrow area without restriction other than weather minimums and transponder requirements.  These factors raise the potential for traffic congestion and collision hazards.  The following recommendations are intended to mitigate these hazards and are intended to be voluntary on the part of GA operators:

  • GA flights should be avoided over the race course during actual race operations.  This is to reduce VFR air traffic and avoid potential collision hazards.
  • GA flights should be avoided over the race course below 2000’ MSL at all times.  This is to reduce VFR air traffic and avoid potential collision hazards with official aviation operations being conducted below 1500’ MSL.
  • GA flights should be avoided over the northern portion of the City of San Francisco located under Class B Airspace Area G and Oakland Class C Airspace outer ring.  This is to reduce VFR air traffic and to avoid potential collision hazards.
  • Bay Tour” flights should be conducted during time periods where no race events are scheduled.  It is recommended that “Bay Tour” flights receive VFR traffic advisory service or Class B/Class C service from Norcal Tracon utilizing frequencies 120.9 or 127.0 as appropriate.
  • All pilots should pay close attention to NOTAMs and any restrictions that occur in this timespan

The FAA Safety Team (FAASTeam) wants to thank general aviation pilots for their cooperation and hope that all pilots will exercise appropriate caution and good judgment during this time frame.

This Safety Notice will be updated during the America’s Cup Race event, as necessary to disseminate critical safety information.