“Intense” demand is expected for airport services in states where the August 21 solar eclipse can be viewed completely. That could affect some business aircraft flights, according to NBAA director of air traffic services and infrastructure Heidi Williams. As the moon moves in front of the sun, a “path of totality” will develop in portions of Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina. Operators should expect delays to ground support, parking and possibly even approach sequencing to airports within these areas, she said.
NBAA also suggests that pilots check Notams for possible TFRs and events that could affect flights around August 21. “With numerous airports hosting eclipse-viewing events,” Williams said, “NBAA will monitor the situation and relay any traffic management initiatives put in place to members.”
One such event is the Solar Eclipse Festival at Wyoming’s Casper-Natrona County International Airport (CPR). Because of this, Williams said that Atlantic Aviation CPR is “down to a handful of parking slots for August 21” and will probably run out before then.
Another event will be a high-altitude balloon launch in conjunction with the Eclipse Ballooning Project, in which nearly 100 high-altitude balloons will be launched throughout the U.S. to capture live footage of the eclipse. Under this project, dozens of balloons will take flight in a short period of time.
“We are expecting air traffic will be up in the path of totality, and many airports in that path are also hosting events on August 21, which will further increase air traffic,” Williams said. “We encourage operators to check with their destination FBOs to ensure needed ground support services will be available if operating in or near the path of totality.”