Another Option – Fly the Eclipse

Another option that would be particularly interesting for passengers would be to fly during the eclipse.  At 10,000 or 11,000 feet, you would be able to see the shadow of the moon race across the ground from west to east.  It is also possible that numerous other pilots would have the same idea, so being in contact with ATC would be a very good idea.  This option will give you the opportunity to quickly clear the area when the show is over and head somewhere for lunch that is less crowded.  Reports indicate there will be many aircraft with this intent.  ATC may be unable to provide VFR services

Circling Mt Jefferson to watch the eclipse is NOT an option at this time.  There is large fire in the area and an extensive firefighting TFR that goes up to 11,000 MSL.  Stay away from this area.  There will be water bombers in the area all day long.  Skyvector has graphic depictions of the firefighting TFRs.

Tips for success:

  • Fill up at an outlying airport and then take off with plenty of time to be on station and at altitude to witness totality
  • Resign yourself to not watching much of the show.  Keep your eyes outside watching for other traffic.  There will probably be a lot of traffic.
  • Ensure your passengers have eyewear suitable for watching the eclipse
  • Have your cockpit prepared for night flight in advance.  You will have as much as 2 minutes of night flying.  Ensure your nav/position/strobes are all working and have them activated for the whole flight
  • Contact ATC for flight following.  There are likely to be numerous other planes with the same plan and it is probable that ATC will be unable to provide VFR services.
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