Pilots Are (Legally) Doing Some No-No's Right Now
The lack of air travel due to the coronavirus has had some weird consequences. But pilots, no matter if they fly little two-seater prop planes or double-decker jets, need to "stay current," which means getting out and flying -- it's an actual regulation they have to abide. And with the current lack of air traffic around, it's become all the easier to check some items off their pilot bucket lists.
Ever since the 9/11 attacks, there's been something called a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) over Disneyland -- which considering it's been going on two decades, needs to drop the "temporary" part from the name. The TFR is up mostly because if a terrorist wanted to take out an all-American icon and a ton of people all at once, Disneyland is a pretty significant target. It's also up in part because Disney doesn't want people towing banners overhead ("SCREW THE MOUSE! WE HAVE HARRY POTTER WORLD OVER AT UNIVERSAL!"), and they have the clout to pull that kind of thing with the government. Well, now that Disneyland is closed, pilots are making up for the lost time.
From up there, you're truly getting to experience the perspective and size. Look at how much bigger the Matterhorn is than the Sleeping Beauty Castle. Over in Star Wars Land, the Millennium Falcon is so much larger than you envisioned it. Millions of people see how incredible Disneyland is from the ground, but so very few ever get to check it out from these angles.
Pilots also kind of "collect airports" in their logbooks; it's kind of like collecting stamps, except for people that have had sex. Unless you're flying a large commercial jet, you'll probably never get a chance to land at a famous place like LAX, O'Hare, or JFK. Usually, towers have to watch out for the hundreds of flights arriving and departing at all hours of the day. Nowadays? Those towers have waaaay less to do and are more inclined to help an average Joe in a prop plane out.
That's like getting to take your Kia out for a spin at a NASCAR track. Nobody seems to have skirted Area 51 though -- oh, wait, they did. Private pilot Gabriel Zeifman flew his little two-seater Cessna 150 around the edges of it with permission from the controllers over there. The area was "cold," meaning no military or top-secret type stuff was going on in the airspace. Zeifman followed instructions and was clear to get some photos of a place that would make a conspiracy theorist's head explode like they were zapped by the secret brain rays our government is for sure storing over there.
Pilots seem to be taking a "do it while we can" approach to some of these flights, but it's important to remember that old saying, "It's all fun and games until someone gets run over by an Airbus."
Top Image: US Air Force