Flying In To See A Shuttle Launch

Many a pilot/space junkie wants
desperately to view a space shuttle launch from the comfort and luxury of a GA
aircraft, which is fine unless you try and get close enough to see anything
in particular, at which time you’re in violation of a number of restricted
airspaces and warning areas, and are likely to have a visit from an FAA
inspector when you land.

Essentially, the entire area from south of Patrick Air Force Base (at the very southern end of the Jacksonville VFR Sectional) all the way north to New Smyrna Beach, and from the jauntily-named Christmas, Florida at the east to as far west as you’d like to fly over the Atlantic, from ground level to Heaven above are verboten during shuttle launches.

Specifically, stay well out of Warning Areas W0497-A, W-497-B, and Restricted Areas R-2932, R-2933, R-2934 and R-2935. Before flying anywhere near the KSC, get a flight briefing (St Petersburg Flight Service Center, 1-800-992-7433, which spells WXBRIEF on the keypad) and specifically ask if there are any active warning or restricted areas, and say, “Is there anything I didn’t ask you that I should have asked you?” before hanging up. Do not fool with this.

The good news? You will be able to get the most exciting views of your life from above Daytona, St Augustine or even Jacksonville. When that baby goes, you don’t have to get very close to get the show of a lifetime.