New for 2016: At 88NV we recognize 3 types of pilots and it is important to understand the different regulations from BRC LLC, BRCMA, BLM and FAA regarding what is considered a charter.  Part 91 GA and Part 135 are treated the same regarding rules, pilot registration, and pilot on-line test.  Burner Express Air has slightly different  procedures regarding Flight Manifest filing, Interceptor, and briefing.

  1. Part 91
  2. Part 135 
  3. Part 135 flying under the Burner Express Air Program or  BxA


Air Carriers – Including both Part 135 and Part 91

Pilots should have a ticket to the Event.  If a pilot does not have a ticket to the Event he or she will be asked to report to the Airport management.  If the pilot does not have a ticket and is bringing passengers Airport management may grant permission to land once more only to pick up the passengers dropped off.  The pilot may receive a trespass warning and be subject to further legal action if he or she brings in other passengers or makes an additional (third) landing. 

Part 91 pilots may not charge passengers beyond shared cost of flight.

Anyone flying passengers to and from Burning Man for a fee (beyond shared expense) is considered an Air Carrier Operator.   This includes Part 135 pilots and any other pilot perhaps doing this in violation of FARs.

In addition, anyone will be considered an Air Carrier Operator if:

  • the pilot makes or is flying an  aircraft that makes either three (3) or more landings with new event attendees or three (3) or more departures with event participants not returning to the event or
  • the pilot or aircraft brings in a total of six (6) or more new participants or departs with six (6) or more participants not returning to the event or
  • the pilot does not have a ticket to the event.

Any Air Carrier Operator not under contract to BxA does not have permission to use the airport even after pre-registration. Landing without permission is a violation of the Closure Order and Stipulation 12.B.iv, and may be cited by law enforcement. Pilots must obey all BLM and FAA regulations. Violation of Airport safety rules may result in flight privileges being suspended or revoked.

  • Airport management may give a pilot an exemption to these policies after an interview. An exception of a possible landing policy would be a two seater airplane/helicopter that requires three landings to transport three passengers.
  • Pilots without a ticket may be given a trespass warning and allowed to land one more time.
  • The FAA may also interview pilots to determine whether they should have a Part 135 certificate.
  • Anyone may land at 88NV after declaring an emergency. A certified mechanic will inspect their aircraft at the pilot’s expense. The FAA will be notified. The aircraft may be impounded.
  • Burning Man shall make reasonable efforts to detect and halt unauthorized use of the Airport, especially by unauthorized Air Carrier Operators.
  • An Air Carrier Crew Pass is required of all Air Carrier pilots and crew who do not have a ticket in order to enter the event.

Part 135 under Burner Express Air Program:  BxA

Burner Express Air is a Burning Man initiative to lower the cost of air travel to the event, make it simpler to book flights, and support ongoing efforts to promote alternative transportation and reduce traffic congestion on Highway 447. It is managed by Advantage Flight Solutions, LLC, a Burner-owned, Burner-operated air carrier that pioneered charter flights to Burning Man in 2005.  If you are a part 135 pilot and interested in joining BxA contact: 135ops@advantageflight.com

  • Flight Manifest may be filed electronically (preferred).
  • BxA needs to contact the Interceptor Dispatcher on the Customs frequency (127.9) upon parking.

You are required to read and comply with all of the rules stated in this document.

Pilots not obeying these rules and safety instructions of Airport management, and/or the BLM regulations, or using the Airport without permission are subject to citation by both the BLM and Pershing County Sheriff Office. The Airport management reserves the right to impound planes until issues are resolved or when pilots have been arrested. Pilots and passengers may be subject to both fines and eviction from the event. Passengers on a flight landing without permission may be required to depart the event along with the pilot and aircraft.

Pilots interested in flying into to Black Rock City’s airport (88NV) should be advised that flying in mountainous high desert conditions is not the same as flying in other regions: winds are high velocity, storms have been known to be sudden and density altitude is high.  Additionally, Black Rock City Municipal Airport (“Airport”) is a very crowded airspace.  The Airport is uncontrolled, meaning there is no control tower.  This is a see and avoid airport.  Hospitals are far away.  The landing surface is an unpaved, dry alkali lake bed.  Experience and appreciation of these conditions is highly advised.  If you do choose to fly to Black Rock City be sure to take all reasonable safety precautions.  Read all of the information on this website and advice in the links.  Consider taking a seminar on mountain flying and/or practice with an instructor at an airport with similar conditions (high desert, mountainous, hot air, dirt runway).   You are entirely responsible for your own safety and that of your passengers.

This Pilot Advisory-Briefing serves as a pre-event ATIS-type advisory to aviators intending to land at Black Rock City Municipal Airport (BRCMA) – Burning Man’s Private-Use Airport:  FAA location identifier 88NV. It contains many useful tips and some important information that you MUST become familiar with to improve operational safety for you, your passengers, and all event participants. There have been aircraft crashes with fatalities at the Airport in the past.  Another serious accident could not only mean the loss of life or injury to a beloved friend but also permanent closure of the Airport.

The Airport is also a gate to the Event and is subject to U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rules, including rules governing entry to the Event and commercial operations on federal lands.  In prior years, pilots have tried to circumvent these rules.  In response, BRC’s enforcement of its rules has become stricter and the penalties for violations have increased.

The intent of all these policies and regulations is to preserve our General Aviation community,  keep our airport safe and in compliance with external agencies and accommodate the growth of Air Carriers.  We welcome you as we always have.  Your participation is what makes 88NV the special place that it is.  Please help us preserve our airport by carefully reading and observing the rules and advice in this document.


    1. Purchase a ticket.  You must have a ticket with you or waiting at Will Call.
    2. Subscribe to at least one of the two AV lists:
    3. Optional:  Twitter will also disseminate current airport advisory information, alerts, and updates. Follow 88NV Info
    4. Pre-Register online as a pilot
    5. Agree to BRC’s Waiver and Release form which is included with pre-registration.
    6. Complete the on-line Pilot Briefing Test successfully based upon information found in this Pilot Advisory-Briefing. You must pass the test in order to submit a Flight Manifest.
    7. Fill-out the Flight Manifest (filing a Manifest requires successful completion of the Pilot Briefing Test first). Note: You must pass the Briefing Test in order to submit a Flight Manifest.
    8. Print a hardcopy of the Flight Manifest (charter BxA done electronically) which will be given to the Interceptor upon arrival. It is permissible to change names and write-in names for last minute corrections.
    9. Download and/or print all documents and charts found under the Required Docs button.  Use this for a quick review prior to and after reading this Pilot Advisory-Briefing.  This will help you learn our unique recommendations and rules.  Pilots must have these in possession upon arrival.
    10. Fly safely to 88NV with all required documents, tickets, and fees for each person on board.
    11. Ask for and receive permission to land from Unicom (122.9) and verify all documents on board prior to entering the Landing Pattern
    12. New for 2016 Bring $60 Airport Gate Use Fee for each person entering the gate for the first time during the current Event (pilots and passengers). Cash preferred, will accept Visa, MasterCard, and debit cards. 
    13. Aircraft are NOT allowed to land unless the preceding steps have been completed.  TIP: For faster line processing paper ticket and cash preferred.  
    14. Exception to the above:  pilot declares an emergency and lands on or off the runway.
      Any aircraft landing with an emergency must have their aircraft inspected by a currently licensed A&P/IA mechanic as being airworthy before taking off from the Airport. False declarations of an emergency will be reported to the FAA. 
  • Student Pilots are prohibited from being at the controls while flying into, out of or during the Event, even with a CFI.
  • Licensed pilots may receive a biannual or additional training from a CFI.
  • Additional on-playa Pilot Briefings are for all pilots flying during the Event. Briefings held daily at 10:00 PDT (10am)


BRCMA Airspace Encompasses the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Closure Area

BLM Closure Area:
The BLM closure and temporary restrictions will be in effect from August 1 to September 21, 2016 and  limits all aircraft.  Starting the Wednesday for Early Arrival Passes before the Event begins, through Labor Day Monday the 88NV runways will be operational.


Military helicopter near The Temple 2011 (photo by Michael Kovach-Long)

Many other types of aircraft may be flying in the area:

    • There may be visiting aircraft not on our CTAF frequency and not following the information in this briefing. Stay alert!
    • Military Operations Area — we have had fast and low-flying visitors.
    • Advise Unicom of any unsafe aircraft. Whenever possible provide type/color, location, direction and altitude and Identifying numbers.

Sky Divers:
Jumps will be announced by Unicom and the   Sky Diving plane.  Burning Sky typically releases sky divers at higher altitudes: 12,000′.  Due to changing and unpredictable wind conditions it is possible for sky divers to inadvertently enter your flight area.

Recreational Off-Airport Desert Landings:
During the Event landings are only permitted on 88NV runways unless there is a declared (verified after) emergency. All activities on the Black Rock Desert, such as the hot springs and Frog Pond, are closed this week to Burning Man participants. Do not land on tribal land including Pyramid Lake.  You may be subject to a fine and Burning Man may impound your aircraft for the remainder of the event until you leave.  You jeopardize our ability to keep the Airport if you land in the closed areas. It will not be tolerated by anyone.

If you wish to fly to some open hot springs that you can actually land near during the Event one option is Soldier Meadow (MAY NOT BE OPERATING) There are pilots who choose to land off-field outside the BLM closure area or visit the area when it is legal to land. The FAA has some tips to make this a safe experience. The most frequent problems encountered by these pilots are due to improper technique most commonly resulting in a ground-loop.  Details regarding playa accidents  provides  some interesting information here.

The two runways are under construction in August, and may be VERY dangerous until completedNo runway use until declared open.

Maximum Size Aircraft:  No aircraft with more than 30 passenger seats is permitted to land at 88NV.  Aircraft that normally have more than 30 passenger seats but have removed some must be FAA approved and you must bring a copy of the STC paperwork and mechanic sign-offs.

Bringing passengers?  Check the FAA, BLM, and BRC rules found in Section 7.

Airport Coordinates: Latitude N 40°46.195′,  Longitude W 119°10.970′

FAA Airport ID: 88NV

VOR Radial: The Airport is on the 245 radial from the Winnemucca VOR at approximately  64 DME.

Field Elevation:  3904’ MSL.

New for 2016 Runway Alignment: 26L/8R and 26R/8L
Offset parallel runways,  L = left = land,    R = right = rise up takeoff

Usual Prevailing Winds are Westerly:  Unicom will advise, usually  favoring 26L for landing and 26R for departure (straight-out, then slight turn to align with center of playa for 3 miles at 500’ AGL maxiumum before climbing).

New for 2016 Runway Dimensions: 7000′ long by 75 feet wide, rolled and watered prior to and during the Event. GA runway 3500′ touchdown at midway point of the 7000′.

New for 2016 GA Traffic Pattern Altitude: Altitude 5000’ MSL (1100’ AGL), Charter 5500′ MSL (1600′ AGL)


Unicom: 122.9
Parking Information aka Ramp Dog: 118.35    

Advisory Information: This is updated as needed and is available at the Daily Pilot Briefings or by  contacting Unicom on 122.9. It is also posted on the whiteboard located near the Tokenator at the Gate.  Major changes (runway closures/openings, weather alerts) will also be announced on Twitter. We will also have a WiFi available for additional pilot information for departure. WiFi access code will be given after the on-playa Pilot Briefing.                                             

Ticketing and Early Arrival Process: The Black Rock Municipal Airport is considered an arrival Gate for  Burning Man. New arrivals go through Box Office (Ticket Validation), Passport Office (Gate), and Customs Inspection (Greeting). All tickets must be ordered and confirmed in advance, no new ticket sales or ticket resale onsite. Box Office can handle Will Call and Airport Customs staff can process Early Arrival Passes.  No one may enter the Event at the Airport prior to the official Event opening without a valid Early Arrival Pass (EAP).  Otherwise, they must depart the Airport immediately. The official opening is midnight Saturday August 27.  The exception to this is Burner Air Express which may arrive earlier on Saturday without an EAP.

Pilots are responsible for their passengers.  Pilots will have to fly them out of the Event  if  their passengers do not have tickets or do not have an EAP if arriving prior to the official opening.  GA pilots are required to have a ticket to land.  If a pilot lands without a ticket he or she will be requested to speak with the Airport and/or Air Operations Manager.

New for 2016 Airport Hours Pacific Daylight Time:

  • The Airport will be fully operational starting at 7:00 am  on Wednesday, August 24 through Friday August 26 for volunteers with an Early Arrival Pass.
  • Early Arrival Passes are required until 23:59 (11:59 pm) Saturday, 27 August and the official start of the event is 6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 28.
  • From Saturday 27 August, and throughout the Event, Unicom will be staffed from 6:00 am to 6:30 pm.
  • Pilot or passengers arriving for the first time during the current Event must land by 18:00 (6:00pm)  to allow time for tickets to be processed through the Box Office.
  • Runways are closed at night at 18:30 (6:30) for GA and 135 pilots with the exception of Burner Express Air.
  • ULTRALIGHT field closes at 19:30 (7:30).

NO Night Operations:
Night Flights (outside the airport runway operating hours) are prohibited unless previously approved through AirOperations@burningman.org   as a special event or operating under Burner Air Express.

New for 2016 Fuel Tanks,  through pre-event Group Buy-In only see section 9 for more details regarding AV fuel and the Airport Life Tab for information regarding camper fuel.

New for 2016 Air Operations Manager replaces the title of Air Commander.


The helipads are strategically located to reduce dust. Air Carrier Service helicopters and GA may only land on their designated helipad using 88NV helicopter procedures.  GA helicopters must make prior arrangements with the Air Operations Manager  2 weeks prior to the beginning of the Event, no exceptions.  AirOperations@burningman.org 

Ultra-light landing site is shown on the charts  

Unicom may temporarily close the runway for medevac operations and all ground movement will cease when medevac operations are in effect. Medevac has priority over all other departing and arriving aircraft. These may be either helicopters or fixed-wing.  The restricted medevac area is indicated on the airport diagram.

The airport is operated as a “Private-Use Of Public Lands” airport within a Class G airspace.
 You must comply with:

  • FAA rules
  • BLM rules, especially those of the BLM Closure Order including the commercial Special Recreation Permits
  • BRC Operating Plan and the Black Rock City Municipal Airport rules  and recommendations contained in the Advisories.

Failure to comply with any of these Airport rules and policies may result in:

  • Revocation of flying privileges during the Event
  • Aircraft impoundment
  • Expulsion from the Event and not allowed to return
  • FAA intervention resulting in a suspended license
  • Citation or arrest by BLM
  • Citation by the BLM or FAA is considered a violation of Airport rules.

FAA Reporting, Incidents / Accidents:
BRC/LLC  (BRCMA) will report to FAA authorities and military bases any aircraft operating in an unsafe manner, or any aircraft related incidents or accidents near/at the event (including non-event aircraft).  BRC/LLC (BRCMA) will coordinate with the FAA concerning the runway operations and management of airspace above the city.

Governing Bodies:
BLM and FAA personnel are often on the field observing operations. We suggest that you abide by FAA rules, fly cautiously and carefully.  All Part 135 regulations are being strictly enforced. Pilot compliance with the Airport rules and observation of safe operating/flying is being monitored by the Air Operations Manager,  Airport Operations Manager, and/or Runway Manager designee.

Airport Conditions:
The airport is a see and avoid, uncontrolled airspace, on a dry alkali desert lake bed surface.   The Airport is located in Class G airspace, however, once you have entered the Event closure area you have entered the Airport airspace with the regulations for a Class G airport, rules enacted by BLM, and the unique rules enacted by BRC are all in effect.


Flying in the Black Rock mountainous desert region is dangerous.  Winds are treacherous, storms are sudden and violent, density altitude is high, dust storms can reduce visibility to zero and, hospitals are far away.  Understand the effects of hypoxia high altitude. The landing and taxiing surface is unpaved, and safe landing/taxiing conditions are not guaranteed.  You are entirely responsible for your own safety and that of your passengers.

High hours and experience do not protect pilots from making mistakes as was demonstrated by the unfortunate death of Sparky Imeson in a plane crash.  His book is still a standard for mountain flying and serves as a caution to overly confident pilots. Take advantage of any learning opportunity including but not limited to:

  • Take a mountain flying seminar
  • Practice with an instructor at a hot, high, and windy airport
  • Participate in AOPA and FAA safety classes and webcasts
  • Read  Mountain Flying Bible by Sparky Imeson

If it has been a while since you last operated at a non-towered airport, the following 10 minute video may be of interest to you as well as AOPA’s Operations at Nontowered Airports http://pilotworkshop.com/airmanship/video

Other recommended resources:

Videos shot at Burning Man:

Exploratorium:   Science at Burningman-Vortices 2010


Exploratorium:   Science at Burningman -High Altitude Aviation 2010


Burning Man Arrival 2013 in a A36 Bonanza  Helpful for seeing what visibility might look like, however, we are now operating with 2 runways, one for departure and one for arrival.

Common mistakes made by pilots not familiar with this unique environment:

  • Overloaded aircraft.
  • Improper climb-out/forced takeoff with high density altitude.
  • Lack of or improper mixture leaning.
  • Lack of understanding of different types of speed (IAS, TAS, GS, etc….).
  • Perceived airspeed (not using Indicated Airspeed instrument).
  • Altimeter not set appropriately or it fluctuates due to atmospheric changes.
  • Flat landings.
  • Forced landings.
  • Power off landings.
  • Short field landings.
  • Static Run-ups.
  • Prop blast.
  • Flying tired and poorly hydrated.
  • Flying as if you are at your “home” airport.

Take Care of Yourself:
Fly only when you are physically rested and in an alert, coherent, and properly hydrated condition.  Combined effects of higher altitude (hypoxia), dehydration, and late-night parties can be deadly not only physiologically but also from resulting mental impairment. Drinking too much water can cause electrolyte imbalances which result in poor judgment.  Balance your water intake with salty snacks, coconut water, Gatorade, or other electrolyte drinks.  Observe the commonly known “eight hours (minimum) bottle-to-throttle”. This is a friendly reminder from all the people who don’t want you to involve them in your accident.

All arriving aviators and passengers are expected to have read the sections on the Burning Man website that pertain to the Ten Principles and First Timers Guide and watch this video. Specific information on bringing camping supplies in your plane and other camping tips  is given at the end of the Airport Life Tab.

ATC Radar Services:
Available above 10,000 feet and many VFR pilots get Flight Following to Black Rock City Airport.  CLOSE YOUR FLIGHT PLAN before descending as Flight Following has difficulty with radio contact below 8000’ WiFi and cell phone service is not reliable.  The only method of contacting them is to take-off and climb to an altitude where you have radio contact. The controllers in Reno are familiar with our location, and it’s OK to give them Burning Man or Black Rock City as your destination when requesting Flight Following. However, if you’re lower than 10,000 feet they will most likely end radar services with you around Pyramid Lake. Close your flight plan prior to losing contact.  You may hear other aircraft in the pattern at Black Rock City, but Unicom will NOT be able to hear you and you will not be able to hear Unicom at Pyramid Lake.  You may not land at Pyramid Lake except in a declared emergency.

Caution Deceptive Ground:
The desert and playa ground may be deceiving.  What appears to be a hard surface may only be a “firm” crust with soft ground underneath, use SOFT-FIELD landing techniques.
 This describes common probable causes of accidents encountered at the Black Rock Desert.

2011-09-05 (photo by Sandi Kovach-Long) copy

2011 (photo by Sandi Kovach-Long)

Density Altitude:
This is a genuine concern at BRCMA and usually ranges from 5000’ to 8000’ or greater.  Your aircraft may not be able to get off the ground under these conditions and go-arounds may be difficult. The runway has no obstacles at either end. Check the serviceable ceiling for your aircraft and carefully determine weight and balances when gifting rides. Improper setting of the altimeter is a common error that can be compounded into a deadly accident.

August212013 LithuanianCampBRCMA(photo by Sandi Kovach-Long)

88NV Lithuanian Camp 2013 (photo by Sandi Kovach-Long)

Afterstorm2013(photo by Sandi Kovach-Long)

Lithuanian Camp dome flattened by wind 2013 (photo by Sandi Kovach-Long)

Wind Direction:
Prevailing winds are generally out of the SW, but high-pressure systems sitting offshore or just inland typically send us winds circulating out of the N-NE.  Winds have been clocked in excess of 80 mph.

CAUTION Variable Weather:
It’s the desert, and the weather can be quite varied. Conditions can change dramatically and quickly. Afternoon thunderstorms, white-out dust storms, rotor turbulence, strong up/down drafts, are all common in this area. Stay alert to rapid and sometimes violent weather changes.

Poor Visibility:  

Historically we have had some very poor visibility due to dust and forest fires. EXTREME CAUTION advised, recommended altitudes may be adjusted due to visibility and will be announced by Dust Devil or Unicom and posted on the Aviators lists when possible.

storm dust wall_s

Dust wall 2013 (photo by Sandi Kovach-Long)

Procedure for White-Out Conditions:
We can experience huge dust storms with “white-out” conditions which may extend higher than 100′.  If you see one coming it is usually best to climb above it and circle until it passes. Know your other landing options just in case.  If you get caught inside one we strongly suggest you maintain flying a straight and level course until you are clear of the dust storm.  Caution If you climb in a dust storm you may be climbing into another aircraft above you that you cannot see.  

Best Time for Flying:
The hottest and bumpiest time of day in the desert is in the afternoon. Most folks avoid flying during that time, preferring to fly in the early morning or early evening before the runway closes at 18:30.

Soft-Field Landing Techniques:
Every pilot who lands should use soft-field techniques (dirt, not grass). The runway has no obstacles at either end. There is no need for short-field operations and it damages our runway.  Let your airplane come down on it’s own and don’t try to “land on the numbers” (LOL there aren’t any). The runway will also last longer if the touchdown point is varied.  GA and smaller part 135 are encouraged to land at the midway point of the 7000′ runway to reduce taxi length and have a quicker exit off the runway.  The midway point is identified with a series of cones.

Getting Stuck in a Rut:
Do NOT try and power your way out. This can cause serious damage to your airplane.  Shut down and push your plane backwards up the slope and out of the hole you are dug into.  Ask for help with this if you need or want it.

Emergency Survival:
Always bring enough water, food and gear to survive an emergency landing in the desert.  Rescue is not guaranteed, and it may not arrive for hours or even days assuming they can find you.  Be prepared! Carry your water in multiple containers in case a container ruptures during a hard landing. Energy bars or backpacker’s food weigh very little and may save you and your passengers.  A Personal Locator Beacon is strongly recommended.


Helicopters are welcome at Burning Man.  GA must contact AirOperations@burningman.org   2 weeks prior to the Event opening to accommodate helipad construction. Please be advised that the landing surface is a fine, dry, dusty, alkali dry lake bed.  Landing on the dusty playa is a lot like landing on powdery snow. Hovering will create your own personal white-out. Consider an approach direct to the surface, without hovering. Likewise consider departing directly from the surface without a hover.  Because of this we only allow helicopters to land on the designated Helipad which reduces the dust that would otherwise coat people camping, their airplanes etc.  On take off please get to an altitude where the dust is not being stirred up as you go by the airport.  Air Carrier Service helicopters may only land on their designated helipad using 88NV helicopter procedures.  Private helicopters must make prior arrangements with the Air Operations Manager before arriving at 88NV.  AirOperations@burningman.org

The helicopter approach to 88NV is the same as the airplane approach, announce intention on 122.9, switch to 118.35 when off runway, announce to Ramp Dog arrival. On final you can side-step to the helipad. Please be careful for traffic that may not expect a helicopter or anticipate your actions.  This approach will keep the wind at your front and the dust behind you as you land.

  • You must stay outside the perimeter trash fence.  
  • No flights over campers / BRC
  • Air taxi 30-50’ off ground down taxiways (blue cones)  
  • NO hover taxi
  • Avoid dusting the medevac area
  •  Monitor 118.35 at all times during taxi

5. ULTRALIGHTS, BALLOONS, and Everything Else that Flies

Ultralights, Trikes, Fan Powered Chutes, Gyrocopters are welcome at 88NV.  We have a special use area just for you! Chart ULTRALIGHT 2016

New for 2016 there will be Ultralight Briefing for new pilots, contact Boom (Jake McGuire) or Major Tom (Tom Speirs) after which you will receive a Briefed Pilot Wristband which gives you permission to fly.  It is also recommended that you attend the GA Pilot On-Playa Briefing (10:00 AM PDT, everyday) so you are familiar with the rules the GA community is following.  

(PARTIAL) LOW SCENIC Ultralights, Paragliders, etc. :    up to 5000 MSL (1100AGL) maximum altitude, 4650 MSL recommended Passengers must have Temporary Visa wristband. Lower flights encouraged and appreciated by passengers.  

  • Takeoff Airport/Point 5 past Point 1 and 2
  • Turn around at Point 3  turns at point 3 can be “wide” and may extend slightly past point 3.
  • Come back past  Point 2 and 1
  • Land at Point 5/Airport

Boom’s advice: the same GA rules apply and breaking these will get you grounded, kicked out, or worse!

  • OBEY THE FARs! They still apply out here, and the FAA is watching.
  • STAY OUTSIDE THE FENCE! Going inside the fence will irritate basically every Fed out here. Note that it can be windy, and “I got blown over the fence” is no excuse.
  • STAY BELOW 750ft AGL (4650 MSL)! Airplanes are at 1000’, but pilots get distracted etc. No one wants a midair.
  • STAY FAR AWAY FROM THE RUNWAYS! Don’t go counterclockwise from the ultralight ramp, don’t go past 2 o’clock. No one wants a midair.
  • DON’T BUZZ THE FEDS! They have a big camp at point 1. Don’t fly over it.
  • YOUR PASSENGER, YOUR PROBLEM! Watch them. Escort them. If they hurt themselves or aircraft or get found alone outside the fence, it’s your fault.
  • DON’T LAND ON THE PLAYA! The BLM closure area extends far beyond the fence.
  • FOLLOW AIRPORT HOURS! Don’t take off before 6:30am, or land after 7:30pm.
  • ENTER AND EXIT THROUGH THE GATE! Jumping the fence is forbidden.
  • If you want to fly into or out of the ultralight area like a real pilot, you need to get an 88NV briefing and follow the rules like a real pilot.

Boom’s Guidelines:

Breaking these will get you hurt, and maybe someone else hurt too.

  • It gets hot, windy, and bumpy. Consider if you really want to take off. Look for puffy clouds, wait for a minute to see how gusty it is, etc. Tie down securely.
  • Be aware of yourself. You may be hung over, tired, not feeling it. You’re the pilot, you need to make the call not to fly.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. The ramp has airplanes and people moving around on it. Don’t run into them, don’t dust them, don’t hit them with your sail.
  • Be aware of your aircraft. The playa has dust, wind, and hippies on bad trips. A careful preflight is a good idea.
  • Be aware of your passengers. 500 feet up is a bad time for them to freak out. Or to decide that they can fly. Give them a pre-flight briefing and make sure they’re ok to fly.
  • The wind is usually from the southwest. But not always. Fighting a 40mph headwind is no fun, especially in a powered paraglider.
  • If you have a PPG, stay between the ultralight ramp and point 1. This is upwind of the fence, other pilots can see you, and you can walk back if you land out.
  • Announce on 122.9 prior to taking off, and landing.
  • Switch to 122.75 as CTAF for Ultralights
  • Flight time from 6:00 am to 7:30 pm.

Ultralights are not allowed to overfly any part of Black Rock City.  Additionally you are not allowed to circle or hover anywhere near the ESD encampment near Point 1 or Gate Road.  It is HIGHLY recommended that you carry a watch and an Aviation Handheld Radio.

TRIKES:  If you have attended a GA Pilot On-Playa Briefing and your Trike is capable of maintaining speeds above 70mph, you are welcome to fly the Scenic Pattern.  You must have an Aviation Handheld Radio for communication to fly in the Scenic Pattern.  All Scenic Pattern Rules apply.

Balloons (tethered or free flight), Hang Gliders, Jet Packs, U.F.O.s, and Such…

Special permission from the Air Operations Manager is required for all operations.  If you are planning on arriving to BRC by air, permission must be granted 2 weeks prior to the opening day.  No permissions will be granted after. AirOperations@burningman.org

HANG GLIDERS: If you intend on flying into Black Rock City you must land on the Ultralight Runway.  A handheld Aviation band radio is required.


New for 2016 Enroute: We are separating smaller GA and Charter (larger faster) planes inbound to 88NV.

Coming in from the west at Gerlach :

  • smaller, slower planes most GA right wingtip towards RR (north side) tracks 5000 MSL (1100 AGL)
  • larger/faster Part 135 left wingtip towards RR tracks (south side) 5500 MSL (1600 AGL)
  • 45 entry at “Frog Pond Valley” (Razorback and Frog Pond on eastern side of valley) communicate intention on 122.9 listen for position of other aircraft,  “Eyes Out” LOOK
  • smaller GA turn to downwind indicated by weather ballons tethered close to ground
  • Charters:  monitor 122.9, communicate intention on 122.9 listen for position of other aircraft, “Eyes Out” LOOK.  Watch for GA crossing under you at Frog Pond/Razorback (coming from behind Razorback after Scenic Pattern exit) and GA leaving Scenic Pattern near your base turn.


Frog Pond Valley 2012 (photo by Dean Siracusa)

Frog Pond Valley 2012 (photo by Dean Siracusa)

Select the following photos to enlarge and give more details of the terrain.

Frog Pond and Old Razorback are used as reference points and found on Google Maps.  This topographical map is also helpful for understanding the terrain.  Frog Pond/Razorback are on one side of a  large saddle or valley as illustrated in above photos. Jungo Road runs alongside Old Razorback and the RR tracks and is easily visible. Unnamed roads visible from the air and on Google maps form a T intersection with Jungo Road near the springs…use this valley as the begining of your 45. Caution:  There are many random tracks across the playa, don’t be fooled into thinking it is the runway!  Pilots have mistakenly landed on roads in the past!


Airport Pattern.9 2015

INITIAL Position Reports:

Be Patient it may take Unicom a couple minutes to respond, provide a position report approximately 8-12 miles out. This gives us more time to respond in case of a busy traffic pattern.  If you do not get a response in a few minutes please report again. The range of the local Unicom radio is limited. They may hear you before you hear them.

Describing your airplane:

UNDER 4,500 pounds gross weight (most of us):

  • Primary color/s of your aircraft.
  • Basic description (low wing, high wing, twin).

This helps pilots who may not know what to look for if someone says they have a Bellanca or a Yak.  YES…there have been Yaks on the playa! Nobody can see your tail number anyway.

 OVER 4,500 pounds gross weight (commercial airplanes):

  • model/type of plane: Citation or Caravan, etc.
  • if part of BxA announce call sign “Burn + number”

Anyone who identifies themselves in this way will be a faster/larger plane that cannot go as slow as a single prop Cessna.

Identify yourself as a helicopter (don’t need your model).

Arrivals from the West or South

  • 12 miles out is over the Empire Airport which is CLOSED  begin contacting Unicom TURN ON LIGHTS AND STROBES.
  • 5 miles out is over Gerlach

Keep Radio Transmissions Brief:
This is a high traffic area and the Unicom frequency can become congested creating a dangerous situation.  Your first position report should clearly state:

  • DESTINATION is Black Rock City
  • DESCRIPTION See above.
  • CURRENT LOCATION (Empire, Gerlach, etc.)

When 2-way contact with Unicom established:  

  • DESTINATION is Black Rock City
  • DESCRIPTION of airplane (see above for aircraft above/below 4500 lbs.)
  • CURRENT LOCATION (Empire, Gerlach, etc.)
  • INTENTION  Ask for and receive permission to land  at our private use airport
  • VERIFY  all Landing Documents are on board
  • WEATHER listen to other pilots for current conditions, ask Unicom if needed.
  • AVOID asking for unnecessary WEATHER INFORMATION this frequency can become very busy, no uneccesary chatter.
  • INTENTION announce if entering the optional INBOUND SCENIC PATTERN 7000’ MSL (3000′ AGL) see Scenic Pattern for more information

  • Pilot:  Black Rock City, Green & White low wing, 6000′ over Empire (keep announcing until Unicom responds)
  • Unicom: Green & White low wing, state your intention    
  • Pilot:  Black Rock City, Green & White low wing, 5000′ over the tracks at Gerlach request permission to land  
  • Unicom: Green & White low wing, do you have your landing documents      
  • Pilot: Green & White low wing, landing documents on board      
  • Unicom: Green & White low wing, permission to land at private use airport granted  
  • Pilot: Green and While low wing, 5000′ entering the 45 for Black Rock City

Lights and Strobes:
PILOTS ARE REQUIRED TO TURN ON LANDING LIGHTS AND STROBES within 10 miles of  BRCMA. This greatly increases your visibility and safety.

Minimize Distractions:                                                                                                                        Maintain a “Sterile Cockpit” during approach/landing and departure. Caution passengers from talking and distracting you (this will be a great challenge in all of the excitement of arriving). It may be helpful to give passengers a task (watch for other aircraft) and remind them you need to be able to hear and respond to the radio.     

From the north east or Soldier Meadows Option One:   

Recommended altitude is 7904′ MSL (4000′ AGL):  contact Unicom 13 miles out, hug the right side of the playa, fly past BRC with your left wingtip towards BRC.  CAUTION the Scenic Pattern around BRC extends out 1 mile and is flying from 5500′ MSL (1600 ‘AGL) to 7000′ MSL (3100’ AGL).

Midway to Gerlach, announce your position, make a 180° left turn to come across and back to the railroad tracks and merge with others.  Drop your altitude to  5000′ MSL  (1100′ AGL) and join the flow of incoming traffic along the railroad tracks GA (smaller/slower) right wingtip to railroad tracks, Charter (larger/faster) on other side of railroad tracks.  CAUTION you will be crossing over the departure flight path flying towards Gerlach which extends for 3 miles from 88NV at  4404 MSL (500 AGL) before climbing.

From the east Option Two:  

Recommended altitude is 7904′ MSL (4000′ AGL):  contact Unicom 13 miles out, hug the right side of the playa, cross over before you reach BRC ( top of the pentagon, point 3).  Monitor radio for pilots exiting the Scenic Pattern (point 3) Fly behind Razorback and join the other inbound traffic.





88NV_5 Model (1)

Unique Characteristics of Landings

Your distance perception may be highly compromised in this environment. The playa is more than 50 miles long and 15 miles wide. Your depth perception will be off because of the flat terrain and almost no ground references such as buildings, grass, etc. We experience the same depth perception issue on the playa that seaplane pilots experience on glassy water. Be in your landing configuration before you go below 100 feet AGL and let the airplane settle at a modest rate of descent. Your eyes may tell you that you’re either too high or too low when you do actually land.

Fly your aircraft at the indicated airspeed appropriate to your AOM/POH.  Density altitude will play tricks with you.  When you’re close to the ground this will mean that your true airspeed (or even your ground speed) is quite a bit higher than you may be used to when landing at sea level airports. This is normal. You MUST fly according to your appropriate indicated airspeed as stated in AOM/POH. There’s nothing wrong with a bit more speed. But, definitely do not fly slower than your normal indicated airspeed.

Ignore your possible desire to land precisely on-the-numbers (not there!) or for GA exactly midway on the runway.  Just continue to descend at a modest rate with the nose wheel slightly higher than normal. Because of the higher ground speed and lack of ground references you may feel like you want to flare higher than normal, however, ignore that feeling and just let the airplane settle onto the mains keeping the nose wheel off the ground as long as possible. You may even float down the runway a bit (enjoy it) but don’t rush your landing. There’s plenty of room. Just let it settle and you’ll be fine. Forcing the plane down will only cause you to porpoise and you may damage your nose gear.

DO NOT make turns below 4404’ MSL (504’ AGL) unless you deem it is an emergency.
Flying over the desert (which appears all the same) can create spatial disorientation.
A tight turn and stall near the ground can ruin our whole day. This has happened here in the past with deadly results.

Runway Closure:

If for some reason the runway is closed it will be announced by Unicom. If the closure is brief Unicom may advise that you circle outside of the landing pattern and await further advisories. Alternate runways may be given if needed and available.  Alternate airports within the area are available  (see Nearby Airports )

burnt tire

Too much throttle and too much brakes

In order to keep the runway in good shape for the entire event pilots need to follow these procedures:

  • Soft-field techniques (know the difference between grass and dirt/sand) Soft-field info.
  • NO short-field landings
  • Light/minimal or No brakes.

New for 2016  Turning to downwind from your 45 will be designated by  a shipping container covered with black net.

New for 2016 GA aim to land in the middle, at about 3500′ of the runway, marked by series of cones. Charter aim for the threshold of 7000′.

L = left = land: with usual prevailing westerly wind land on 26L

 ⇦ ⇦ ⇦ Usual departure    8 L–RUNWAY–26R   (WIND SHIFTS land on 8L)

Usual prevailing wind is westerly ⇒⇒⇒      8R–RUNWAY–26L       ⇐ ⇐ ⇐ Usual landing

A short video of a 2015 approach and landing, note that reflection caused the black chevrons to appear white!


In the event of reverse winds (landing on 8L) UNICOM will advise the airport is temporarily closed to clear the aircraft on final.  UNICOM will advise those in landing pattern to go into the Scenic Pattern at 7000′ or above or remain clear of the area.  Pilots who are in the pattern and still accepting a tailwind may land at the discretion of the pilot.  When pilots who were on final have landed and cleared the runway Unicom will announce “Now landing on 8L, reverse pattern, Black Rock City Airport is open”.

Landing Recommendations:

  1. No direct entry to the Landing Pattern from the Scenic Pattern.
  2. New for 2016 Pattern altitude is 5000′ MSL (1100′ AGL) enter 45 anywhere in Frog Pond valley.  Use S Turns to scan for traffic.  Charter 5500′ MSL.
  3. GA turn to downwind indicated by a shipping container covered with a black tarp.
  4. Do not land “on the numbers”…don’t look for numbers, there are no numbers to land on.
  5. Smaller, slower aircraft / GA land towards middle of 7000′ runway, aim to land midway:  3500′ marked with series of cones close together.  
  6. Soft-field landing techniques (dirt not grass), do not use short-field techniques.
  7. Do not rush your landings. Remember, you’re on playa time. If something isn’t right, go around. Don’t forget Density Altitude may effect your rate of climb.
  8. Fly your aircraft at the indicated airspeed appropriate to your aircraft’s AOM/POH.
  9. Partial power approaches advised. Steep, power-off approaches are not needed.
  10. Shallow descent at 500 fpm or less.
  11. Be in your landing configuration before you go below 500 feet AGL.
  12. Trike: land on the mains and keep your nose wheel in the air as long as possible, don’t land flat on all 3 wheels (nose wheel may dig in)
  13. Taildraggers:  3 point landing preferred
  14. If using carb heat turn-off before touchdown.
  15. Minimal brakes if any and only as needed. AIR CARRIERS: beta not advised due to possible damage to the runway.
  16. Land the airplane according to the appropriate indicated airspeed for your airplane’s AOM/POH.
  17. If you go around remember to keep your indicated airspeed appropriate for departure and consider the effects of Density Altitude upon your rate of climb.
  18. Stay off the brakes and no tight turns, runway is firm but delicate.
  19. Dust storm: if you are above the storm, go around.  If you are in the storm, fly straight and level.  Caution: do not climb within a dust storm you may climb into another plane you cannot see.


  • GA traffic climb to 4500′ MSL straight out for 3 miles.
  • Return to join the pattern on the north side of the railroad tracks.
  • BxA traffic to climb to 5000’MSL straight out until safely clear of the Scenic Pattern above at 5500′ MSL.
  • Climb above GA (5000′)  to join the pattern to the south side of railroad tracks.

After Landing:

  1. Do not turn around and back taxi on the runway.
  2. New for 2016: BxA pilots or staff contact the Interceptor Dispatcher on the Customs frequency (127.9) upon parking
  3. New for 2016 report tail number and number of new arrivals to Ramp Dog (118.35)   Switch and announce as soon as you are off the active runway.  Required to monitor 118.35 during all taxi, park, and start-up for ground advisories and parking information. 
  4. Move slowly off the runway as soon as possible and taxi towards the terminal, watch out for the cones.
  5. Soft surface! Keep your nose wheel as light as possible, yoke in your lap at all times Caution Deceptive Ground What appears to be a hard surface may only be a “firm” crust with soft ground underneath.
  6. Watch out for playa serpents!!! These are mini dunes or ripples that form and disappear frequently.
  7. There may or may not be a taxiway between the runway and the tie-down area.
  8. When taxiing be aware of your prop blast…move at a walking speed.
  9. If you get stuck taxiing ask for help, never try to power-out. Shut down, ask for help and push your plane backwards until you are clear of the hole. This is the fastest way to get unstuck and minimize potential damage to you plane.
  10. When you push/pull your plane into or out of your tie-down spot ask people for help if needed
  11. Dust storms and wind gusts often come up quickly. Tie your aircraft down immediately and securely when not flying using suitable, approved tie down materials. Hint: that thin rope denoting the parking line is NOT suitable for tying down to! 80mph winds have been recorded

Required Landing Documents:
what- 2 maps, Noooo

All GA aircraft, and Part 135 will be met by an Interceptor with the exception of Burner Express Air which has a separate procedure.

Provide the Interceptor with the completed Pilot Manifest.

Pilots must download all appropriate materials (paper, electronic) and have copies in their cockpit upon landing. These are found at the button at the beginning of this Pilot Advisory on the right side:

  • FLIGHT MANIFEST, printed copy required, passengers may be changed/added in writing
  • BRCMA CHARTS, printed copy or electronic.
  • SUMMARY, printed copy or electronic  

Passenger Protocol: 

Passengers must be escorted at all times to/from the aircraft through the  Gate/Terminal.  Passengers are escorted by the pilot or in the case of charters, their supporting Air Carrier Representative.

Pilots must remain with passengers until they have cleared Customs.  When a passenger is waiting to have ticket issues resolved, the pilot, or Air Carrier Representative, is responsible for remaining with the passenger in the ramp/ticket processing line.  If the ticket issues have not been resolved, the pilot is responsible for flying the passenger out of the Event before the runway closes for the day unless the passenger has already been cited and transported out of the Event by law enforcement

Luggage Carts are available for transporting your luggage between the airplane and Customs terminal.  Please leave luggage carts in the Transient Arrival Area during the beginning of the week for arriving passengers.  Towards the end of the event, please leave luggage carts in the Terminal area for departing passengers.  Luggage carts do not leave the Airport

 CAUTION: Understand the rules governing passengers.

GA Pilots: Be aware of the BRCMA definition of Air Carrier, FAA Part 135 and BLM SRP when transporting people arriving to or departing from the event.

Any pilot transporting a new participant into the event, or transporting a participant out of the event, may be subject to interviews by the BLM or FAA to determine whether an SRP Special Recreation Permit or Part 135 certificate is required because of a commercial transaction.  This is regardless of whether the pilot is acting as an Air Carrier Service or considers himself/herself a GA pilot under the rules in this document.

The following criteria determine whether a GA pilot is considered an Air Carrier by the BRC, even if not flying under a FAA Part 135 certificate.

Number of trips: 

  • 3 or more landings with passengers newly arriving at the event
  • 3 or more departures with passengers who are not returning to the event
  • transporting a total of 6 people, with any number of landings, newly arriving at the event.
  • transporting a total of 6 people, with any number of departures, out of the event, who are not returning.

Money Exchanged:

The FAA does not allow GA pilots to charge money for a flight beyond shared cost of expenses and the pilot and passenger/s must have a shared destination (demonstrated by having Event tickets).

If you meet any of these criteria you will be asked to speak with the Airport Department Manager and sign an Air Carrier Agreement (ACA).  Depending upon the circumstances, you may be asked to pay ACA fees to BRC Outside Services.  After talking with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) staff you may be required to obtain a Special Recreational Permit (SRP) from the BLM and pay fees to the BLM.  This can all be done at the Airport…save yourself time and possibly money by understanding the above criteria.


Interceptor will meet your plane when you have parked and shut-down engine. You and your passengers must remain at your plane until met by the Interceptor who is given the Flight Manifest. Have other downloaded documents ready for inspection.  Interceptors can get very busy, please be patient.  While you are waiting you may unload and secure your plane.

Gifting/Transient Aircraft Parking:
If you are gifting rides, drop-off or pick-up passengers in the GA transient parking area. Do not taxi to the terminal entrance or your parking spot.

Parking Locations:
When cleared from the active runway it is required to contact Ramp Dog on 118.35
 Notify Ramp Dog of parking intentions:

  • Gifter (frequent flyer),
  • Camping,
  • No Flying during Event

pink whiskers

Open tie-downs have a pink whisker.  Spots that are taken will have a blue square marker and tie-down materials in the ground.  If you are flying during the event please park where your dust will not impact under-the-wing campers and/or the airport village.

Parking Reminders:
When you do find a parking spot you must tie your plane down immediately as conditions can change rapidly. This is for the safety of your aircraft as well as the aircraft around you. Sudden unexpected gusts and very strong windstorms (80+ mph) do occur and we don’t want your aircraft to become a hazard to others.

Tie-Down Info:
YOU are responsible for bringing, installing and removing (at the end of your stay) your own tie-downs.  Many pilots use 3 pieces of rebar per tie-down point along with an adequate length of rope. We recommend http://www.flyties.com as an alternative to rebar because they are lightweight and very easy to both install and remove, see Dogpilots and Systems suggestions for alternatives under the Airport Life Tab, section 6 Camping Under the Wing.


  1. plastic stakes,
  2. tent stakes,
  3. screw-type anchors
  4. do not tie onto the heavy twine that marks the tiedown area

These do not work in our environment and are not allowed.  As a service to pilots, the airport loans hammers and rebar pullers. You may be fined for any MOOP (matter-out-of-place) including rebar upon final departure.

Always park in your spot.
If you need to change places, ask Customs if it is possible to get a new spot assigned before changing locations.

Do NOT park close to other planes. This is not Oshkosh and we do not need to cram the planes together. There’s plenty of room for everyone. Leave at least 2/3 of a wingspan between your wingtip and your neighbors. Leave more if neighboring plane is really nice or appears heavily armed.

Perimeter of the Event is the Orange Trash Fence = forms pentagon outline:
Keep the orange perimeter fence clear of all obstacles as it is used for an emergency vehicle access.

  • DO NOT TAXI on the road next to the trash fence.
  • DO NOT CROSS over the trash fence to get to and from aircraft.  All pilots and passengers must ALWAYS proceed through the Airport Terminal and Gate One.

Under-the-Wing Camping:

Upon arrival notify Ramp Dog that you intend to camp and/or will not be flying for optimal placement.   You will be given a wristband that allows you access to your aircraft but DOES NOT allow you to fly during the event.  For more information on camping in the Airport Village or  camping with your plane, see the Airport Life Tab.

Passengers who will be Camp Mates:
Border Control at the gate will assist you in obtaining a special Camping Visa (wristband) to allow non-pilot under-wing-airplane-campers access without being escorted by a pilot.

IN and OUT passengers/ visiting guests (exiting and re-entering gate) must be escorted by the pilot, or campmates who already have a Camping Visa wristband, or an authorized representative if Part 135.  Visitors will be given a Temporary Visa (wristband) at Gate One for limited escorted access to and from the tie-down area to go through Gate One (the airport in/out gate). If they do not have a wristband they will not be let back into the event.


Allen fueling his Seawind 3000 at old fuel depot (photo from Allen Low)

CAVU fueling Allen’s Seawind 3000 at old Fuel Depot (photo from Allen Low)

NEW FOR 2016   Two tanks, 1000 gallons JetA and 2000 gallons for AV gas.  There is no aviation fuel for sale or available to you at BRC unless you participate in the Group Fuel Buy-In.

  • Pre-buy Group for fuel closes August 5, 2016, to join the group for current information on group fuel purchase go to:    https://groups.google.com/d/forum/88nv-fuel 
  • GA needs to use the new Airport Fueling Station
  • Ultralights see below, please contact AirportSafety@burningman.org  
  • Fuel storage guidelines are found here

For fuel related to camping needs see Airport Village Life, section 3. Fuel storage guidelines are found here

Do not fly to Black Rock City without enough reserves to safely fly to a nearby airport that has fuel and maintain your FAA required minimums.  See the Nearby Airports page for fuel services.

Fuel Theft: Those caught stealing fuel or any other property will be arrested immediately and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Fuel Storage Large Capacity: Mobile Fueler must adhere to all DOT state and local regulations regarding storage, signage, fire extinguishers, and transport of fuel. Mobile Fueler must be approved prior to bringing to BRCMA by the Airport Safety Officer:   AirportSafety@burningman.org 

Fuel Storage/Transport Small Capacity: 5 gallon or smaller fuel containers may only be filled up to 80% to allow for expansion.  Metal fuel containers are recommended as they are easier to bond with aircraft and thus avoid fires from static discharge that can occur from plastic fuel containers.

Fueling funnels should be metal with a chamois to pour the fuel through to eliminate water in the fuel.

All fuel containers and drums must be stored in a Fuel Containment Unit and have prior approval, contact AirportSafety@burningman.org  A small Portable Fuel Containment Unit is easily made from a cement mixing tub, oil changing pan, plastic bin, etc.  The capacity of any Fuel Containment Unit should be at least 110% of the largest single container stored in the unit.


This short video shows a pilot with pre-flight checklist, takeoff, Scenic Pattern and landing, with views of runways and BRC.

On Playa Pre-Flight:

  1. Report to Tokenator (Gate)  if you are intending upon returning.
  2. Thorough pre-flight inspection before each flight!
  3. Remove dust covers and blue tape (recommended over static ports, etc).
  4. Push/pull aircraft into taxi-way and point down the row before starting engine.
  5. Set altimeter to 3904’ the airport elevation.
  6. Advise passengers to remain silent during takeoff and landing.
  7. Begin monitoring 118.35


  1. Never takeoff from taxiway / ramp.
  2. When taxiing to/from 26R-8L slow down, do not dust the Medevac the area
  3. Slow taxi to runway
  4. New for 2016 Check-in with Ramp Dog on 118.35 for current altimeter or ground traffic info, otherwise monitor until reaching departure runway.
  5. Prior to entering runway, switch to 122.9, announce departure,  Unicom for advisory information 
  6. Slow rolling run-ups to avoid prop and runway damage.
  7. Properly lean your aircraft appropriate to your engine and the elevation per AOM/POH.
  8. Flap settings per AOM/POH, for many aircraft this is the lowest aileron deflection.
  9. Use soft field technique NEVER short field technique.
  10. Use ground effect to build-up speed then climb…there is plenty of space.
  11. Carb ice can form with outside temperatures as high as 100 with relative humidity at 50%, carb check recommended after airborne to avoid damage from dust/sand.
  12. Lights and strobes must be on within the BLM Closure area.

Starting Engines:
Pull (or push) your plane out and position the plane perpendicular to the parked aircraft so that your prop wash goes down the movement lane, and not onto other planes and/or camps. If you need help just ask as campers/pilots nearby who will usually be happy to help so their tent/airplane doesn’t get dusted. Be patient! Monitor Unicom/CTAF, listen and watch for other aircraft/vehicles/people, announce your intentions, and be courteous. If it’s really busy and you have to wait to takeoff and you’re worried about engine temps, shut down for a while, open your doors to cool-off, and wait until safe.

R = RIGHT = RISE UP and Takeoff:  with usual prevailing westerly wind use 26R

Usual  wind  ⇒⇒⇒  8 L–RUNWAY–26R   ⇐ ⇐ ⇐ usual takeoff

 (Wind shifts: Takeoff on 8R)        8R–RUNWAY– 26L  ⇦ ⇦ ⇦ Usual landing


Departure with usual prevailing winds use 26R straight out.

  1. Straight out making slight adjustments to align with center of the playa.
  2. Keep at 4500 MSL (600 AGL) for 3 miles.
  3. After 3 miles climb to altitude, CAUTION be aware of the potential for planes to come across the playa returning from Soldier Meadows or non-88NV pilots sight seeing.
  4. Landing lights and strobes must be on at all times within the BLM Closure area.
  5. Simple position reports:  Red low-wing departing 26 straight out for Reno.

Wind shifts depart on 8R straight out 3 miles then right hand crosswind turn to continue to the other side of the Razorback and turn to Reno or downwind back towards BRC/88NV using the procedure below.

  • Straight out making slight adjustments to align with center of the playa.
  • Keep at  4500 MSL (600 AGL) for 3 miles
  • After 3 miles, climb to altitude, CAUTION there may be planes crossing over at a higher altitude to join the incoming traffic.
  • Announce intention and turn away from the event-side to:
  • either climb ABOVE 8000 MSL (4100 AGL) to avoid the Inbound Scenic Pattern.
  • or fly to the side and avoid the 10 mile BLM Closure area.
  • No flying directly over the BRC event.
  • Landing lights and strobes must be on at all times.

Emergency One Runway Operation:
In the event that we are operating with only ONE RUNWAY, flying aircraft have the right of way over those on the ground. NEVER EVER taxi onto the runway for takeoff in front of aircraft on final for landing. You risk getting overrun, and you can blind the landing aircraft with a cloud of prop wash dust. Be patient! Monitor Unicom/CTAF, listen and watch for landing aircraft, announce your intentions, and be courteous. If it’s really busy, and you’re worried about engine temps, shut down for a while, open your doors to cool-off, and wait until everyone lands. When waiting for the runway never cut ahead in line.


All Pilots must have a Briefed Pilot Wristband for flying during the Event.  Briefed Pilot Wristband does NOT replace your Resident Visa wristband, do not remove! You must attend the on-playa Pilot Briefing which is held daily at 10:00 (10 AM PDT)  Upon successful completion of the on-playa Briefing, pilots will be registered and receive their Briefed Pilot Wristband allowing them to fly during the event.

Radio Reports:
The primary function of the pilot is to FLY the plane LOOK AROUND VFR (which may be challenging with all the other visual distractions). LOOK FOR TRAFFIC and then COMMUNICATE clearly and briefly to alert others of your position and intention!  This will be very challenging flying due to excited passengers and incredible views!

Passing a Plane:
KEEP LOOKING for planes around you. Periodically announce your position as the flow of traffic and radio transmissions allows. SLOWER PLANES should fly closer to the trash fence in Scenic Pattern. If you are going to pass a slower plane:

  • INTENTION:  Announce your intention.
  • POSITION: Give your position using points of BRC pentagon and altitude
  • PASS:   On the outside / left wing of the overtaken aircraft.
  • Watch-Out for… CAUTION:  Sky Divers, Uninformed Visitors, Military

Report Unsafe Flying:
If you see an aircraft going counterclockwise around the event or flying outside the recommended parameters report to Unicom immediately with:

  • Direction of aircraft
  • Location
  • Altitude
  • Description of aircraft and if possible a tail number
  • Any BRCMA pilot who is flying counter-clockwise around the event will have his/her flying privileges revoked for the duration of the event.

Flights of more than 1 hour will be met by Interceptor … no exceptions.

Flight Path for Scenic Patterns:
The Scenic Pattern is determined by the BRC Pentagon outlined by an orange trash fence surrounding the Event.
 The type of aircraft and speed determines the altitude and pattern that you will fly.


Departure with usual prevailing winds use 26R straight out.

  1. Straight out making slight adjustments to align with center of the playa.
  2. Keep at 4500 MSL (600 AGL) for 3 miles.
  3. After 3 miles climb to altitude while turning back to Point One


(PARTIAL) LOW SCENIC Ultralights, Paragliders, etc. :   up to 5000 MSL (1100AGL) maximum altitude.  Passengers must have Temporary Visa wristband. Lower flights encouraged and appreciated by passengers. 

  • Takeoff Airport/Point 5 past Point 1 and 2
  • Turn around at Point 3  turns at point 3 can be “wide” and may extend slightly past point 3.
  • Come back past  Point 2 and 1
  • Land at Point 5/Airport

SLOW SCENIC  5500’ MSL (1600′ AGL) = all aircraft flying between 60-100 knots.

FAST SCENIC: 6000’ MSL (2100′ AGL) = all aircraft flying greater than 100 knots.

INBOUND SCENIC: 7000’ MSL (3100′ AGL) = all INBOUND aircraft have the OPTION of a scenic pattern before proceeding to the  Landing Pattern.  This includes GA and Air Carrier:  returning (Boomerang Flights) and new arrivals.


BRC is constructed with radials/roads like a clock which is inside a pentagon trash fence.

CLOCKWISE Flow of Scenic Pattern, top of Pentagon =  EXIT Point 3  (12:00 on clock, break in the city by expanse of  playa and The Temple)

                        ENTER Point 1  Regular Pentagon Inscribed In A Circle | ClipArt ETC      AIRPORT PT 5                                                                                                                                         

  • The Airport is at Point 5 of the pentagon.   
  • The vehicle entrance road running from the highway into the Main Gate is usually in the middle (6:00) of the event and is between point 5 and Point 1 
  • The city ends around 10:00 and 2:00 and it is open playa with art installations and The Temple at Point 3 (12:00)  in the top center.
VFR points 2012 (photo by Dean Siracusa)

VFR points 2012 (photo by Dean Siracusa)

  • Scenic Pattern follows the outline of a pentagon formed by the perimeter fence (orange trash fence) around the event / BRC
  • Stay on the outside (away from BRC) of the orange trash fence.
  • Always fly CLOCKWISE  to BRC, right (starboard) wing towards The Man/city.
  • May extend up to a mile out on  the side with Points 1, 2, 3,
  • Stay tight to the orange trash fence on the Airport side (Points 4 to 5) to avoid interference with runway operations.brcmap

Position reports follow the points of the pentagon formed by the orange trash fence

  • Enter the Scenic Pattern at Point 1 (7:30 clock/BRC streets), report intention prior.
  • Mandatory reporting at Airport Point 5. This is to both to alert pilots entering the Scenic, as well as other Airport Point 5 operations.
  • Exit the Scenic Pattern at Point 3 , the “top” of the pentagon, (look for openning in city  with The Temple)  report intention prior to exiting and include your destination: Landing, Reno, Hot Springs.

Best photographic position for passengers is on the right (starboard) wing down side.

Keep Radio Transmissions Brief:  state intention slightly before executing maneuver, identify with color/type under 4500 lbs or model/make if over 4500 lbs:

  • Caravan, Point 1, entering Scenic, 7000
  • Blue high-wing, Point 1, entering Scenic, 6000’
  • Red biplane, Point 3, exiting Scenic, 5500’ heading to land.
  • White and Blue low-wing, Point 5 at 6000’

No climbing or descending within the pattern.  If you need to climb or descend:

  • leave the pattern at Point 5.
  • climb or descend to desired altitude.
  • enter pattern at Point 1.

Keep Scenic Flights and Landing Patterns Separate:
There is enough space between the city limits and the runway so that scenic flights do not interfere with landing traffic.  No Direct-to-Final entry from the Scenic Pattern to the Landing Pattern of any runway.


New for 2016 No more Tokens!  Tokens allowed us to assess how many aircraft were in the Scenic Pattern and helped determine our fluctuating census.  We found it was not needed to control traffic and other methods are being used for our census.  Unicom may still control the number of aircraft in the Scenic Pattern for safety issues.

New for 2016 Tokenator Sign-in. On your way through Gate sign-in with the Tokenator,  printing:

  • Your name, playa name
  • Tail number
  • Number of passengers

Upon returning simply report via radio to Ramp Dog 118.35 your tail number.

SERIAL GIFTERS: simply report the above to Ramp Dog on departure and return, you do not need to go to Tokenator.  The Serial Gifter status is awarded to pilots who have gifted the most rides in the previous year.

Gifting Rides:
We have literally changed people’s lives with their first ride in a private plane.  Some have come back to share they are now student pilots!  We are very committed to continue Gifting Rides. Halvy shows how much fun it is in this short video.

Gifting Rides with Friends:
Take your friends directly to Border Control for a wristband.  If you have room for additional passengers see the Ride Wrangler.

Finding Passengers:  Gifting Rides through Ride Wrangler
The Ride Wrangler will be in charge of matching Burners who would love the gift of a ride with available pilots. This relieves the pressure on pilots from being besieged with ride requests.

Passenger Protocol:  We appreciate it if you’re able to gift rides to volunteers but not when they are on duty!

  • You are responsible for the safety and conduct of your passengers.
  • Passengers must have a Temporary Visa wristband to go onto ramp and return through Customs and get back into the event. You must personally escort all passengers to and from your aircraft and the gate.
  • Park in transient parking/staging area if you are making multiple flights.


DO follow our rules for a fun, safe, future. A pilot whose behavior has been repeatedly unacceptable over the years with a previous FAA warning and a BLM citation, has been banned from the Airport this year. Another pilot was caught running a rogue air carrier service and had his license suspended by the FAA.  Stopping this is one of our top priorities and is part of our mandate. Infractions of local rules, disregard for public safety and random acts of aerial mayhem will be witnessed by FAA representatives from Reno FSDO, who are present throughout the event. You have been warned !!!

  • DON’T be the “ASS” in ambassador. Please do not do anything to cast the Airport or our operations in a negative light to the citizens of BRC. They are just like the citizens of any other metro area—largely uninformed about general aviation.
  • DO remember FAA regulations regarding flights for COMPENSATION…shared operating costs only! All hired flights must also obtain a permit from the BLM prior to departure. Remember you become considered an Air Carrier if you have either transported passengers more than 2 times or transported more than 5 to/from the event.
  • DO NOT dust your neighbors with your prop wash, the playa already does that enough.
  • DO watch-out for ultralights, skydivers, towed gliders, helicopters, tethered and free-flight balloons, drones, aircraft, and vehicles on the ground!  It can get crowded up there especially the weekend of the burn when historically we have been busier than Reno or Sacramento!
  • DO keep the fence clear…the orange “perimeter fence” also called the “trash fence” must be kept clear for emergency vehicles.  NO TENTS, NO BIKES, NO LUGGAGE
  • DO have fun and fly safe!

14. NEXT STEPS TO DO In the Following Order: 

  1. Purchase a ticket to the Event!
  2. Pre-Register online as a pilot which will give you the link to the Briefing Test.
  3. Review this Advisory-Briefing and the Summary
  4. Complete the on-line Briefing Test successfully (required before Flight Manifest can be filled-out).
  5. Fill-out the  Flight Manifest (which requires completion of all the previous steps)
  6. Print a hardcopy of the Flight Manifest (containing your unique code) which will be given to the Interceptor upon arrival. Handwritten changes are permitted.
  7. Download and/or print all required documents and charts.