Pilot Advisory

Pilot Advisory Briefing

This Pilot Advisory-Briefing serves as a pre-event advisory to aviators.

Pilots intending to land at Black Rock City Municipal Airport be advised that 88NV is Burning Man’s Private-Use Airport. The intent of all 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 Carrier Operators. 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.

This site includes 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 serves as a Gate to the Event and is subject to U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rules, including those governing entry to the Event and commercial operations on federal lands. In response to past attempts to circumvent regulations, BRC’s enforcement of its rules has become stricter and the penalties for violations have increased.

At 88NV we recognize 3 types of pilots. It is important to understand the different regulations that affect all pilots.

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

Burning Man (BRC), Black Rock City Municipal Airport (BRCMA or “Airport”), Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) all publish rules and regulations. Part 91 GA and Part 135 are treated the same regarding rules, pilot registration, and pilot on-line test.

Air Carriers – Including both Part 135 and Part 91

Everyone – pilot or passenger – needs a valid ticket to enter the Event.

If a pilot or passenger attempts to enter the Event without a ticket, they will be stopped by Airport and/or Gate staff. A pilot without a ticket may be permitted to land during passenger drop-off, and then once more to retrieve passengers (for a total of two landings). A pilot may receive a trespass warning and be subject to further legal action if he or she brings in other passengers or makes additional landings.

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.

You may 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
  • 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
  • the pilot does not have a ticket to the event

Landing without permission is a violation of the 2017 BLM Closure Order and may result in citation by law enforcement revocation or suspension of flight privileges.

Part 135 under Burner Express Air Program

Burner Express Air (BxA) 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. Please contact us if you are a part 135 pilot interested in joining BxA.

Thank you and Welcome Home

1. Basic Steps for Pilots

Stay in the Loop: subscribe (send blank email) to Aviators’ Discussion List and Aviators’ Announcement List. Receive important updates while you keep in touch.

    1. Ticket. You must have a valid paper ticket in hand or at Will Call
    2. Pre-Register as a pilot
    3. Successfully complete our Pilot Briefing Test to get your landing code
    4. SAVE your landing code – write it/tattoo it/email it to yourself.  It will also be on your manifest.
    5. Complete a Flight Manifest and print it
    6. Download and print all documents and charts found under the Required Docs button
    7. Ready to fly?  In the aircraft you must have:
          • Tickets (or confirmed at Will Call) for all on board
          • $60 airport use fee per person (cash or plastic OK) — or a printed shiftboard schedule for 88NV volunteers
          • Flight Manifest print copy
          • Downloaded or printed copy of briefing documents and charts
    8. New for 2017: Use Black Rock Arrivals (134.7) beyond ten miles out.  Check in at 10-12 miles out:
      1. BRA will request pilot name & landing code
      2. BRA will give you “permission to land” at Black Rock City Municipal Airport (private airport)
      3. BRA will transfer you to CTAF frequency (122.9) Unicom, prior to entering the landing pattern

Aircraft are NOT allowed to land unless the preceding steps have been completed.  Participants with valid re-entry credentials will not be charged repeat Gate fees.  Fees waived for Airport volunteers with printed Shiftboard schedules.

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.

2. Airport & Flight Info

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

FAA Airport Identifier: 88NV         Field Elevation:  3904’ MSL

New for 2017: Runway Alignment 23L/5R and 23R/5L
Offset parallel runways.  Mnemonic: L = Left = Land, R = Right = Rise up/takeoff

VOR Radial: 88NV is on the 245 radial from the Winnemucca VOR at approximately 64 DME

Usual Prevailing Winds are Westerly, may exceed 80 mph: Unicom (122.9) will advise, usually favoring 23L for landing and 23R for departure

Runway Dimensions: 6000′ long by 75′ wide, with GA touchdown at 3500′

Surface Conditions: Dirt runways maintained throughout event, dry alkaline lake bed, small shifting dunes and blowing dust

2017 Frequencies:

Black Rock Arrivals 134.7                 Unicom CTAF: 122.9           Parking (Mandatory) Ramp Dog: 118.35

2017 BLM Closure Area

BRCMA Airspace Encompasses the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Closure Area. The temporary closure and temporary restrictions will be in effect from July 31, 2017, to September 20, 2017. The order limits all aircraft. Advise Unicom of any unsafe aircraft, noting type/color, location, direction and altitude and identifying numbers.

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

During the Event, landings are only permitted on 88NV runways unless there is a declared (and later verified) emergency. All activities on the Black Rock Desert, such as the hot springs and Frog Pond, are closed during Event 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 the Airport’s continued existence if you land in the closed areas. It will not be tolerated by anyone. There are pilots who choose to land off-field outside the BLM Closure Area and  visit the areas when it is legal to land.

The two runways under construction at 88NV are very dangerous until completed. Runway use is PROHIBITED until runways are officially declared open by Airport Management, no earlier than August 23, 2017.

Many other types of aircraft may be flying in the area

There may be visiting aircraft not on our CTAF (122.9) frequency and not following the information in this briefing. Stay alert!

  • We are located in a Military Operations Area with frequent fast and low-flying visitors
  • Sky diving jumps will be announced by Unicom (122.9) and the Burning Sky aircraft, which releases skydivers at around 14,000′ AGL and below
  • Unpredictable wind conditions could cause skydivers to inadvertently enter your flight area

Maximum Size Aircraft

Bringing passengers? Check the FAA, BLM, and BRC rules found in Section 7. 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. You must also bring a copy of the STC paperwork and mechanic sign-offs.

Weather and Advisory Information

New for 2017!  
We have a new weather station at 88NV. You can check current conditions such as wind, altimeter, temperature, dew point, etc., as well as a 10 day forecast. Ways to access are as follows:

  1. Ask Black Rock Arrivals or RampDog (they will have displays in the towers)
  2. www.wunderground.com or download the APP “Weather Underground”.  Our station will be named 88NV. It will not be live until it is set up during the week before the event. There is also a nearby existing station that can be referenced called Black Rock City.
  3. Send a text to 775-442-0739 to receive a return weather text:
    • Text “C” for current conditions. Text “M” for METAR.

New for 2017!  There will be an “Airport Status Board” located at the Pedestrian Gate. It will have updated 88NV information including:

  1. Active Runway
  2. Airport and Runway Status (open, closed or restricted)
  3. Scenic Pattern Status (open, closed or restricted)
  4. Runway Condition Report
  5. Any known Airfield Hazards
  6. Information on how to access current weather
  7. 10 am Pilot Briefing location

Work Access Pass (WAP) and arriving early 

The Black Rock Municipal Airport is considered an arrival Gate for Burning Man. New arrivals go through Box Office, Passport Office, and Customs Inspection. No tickets are sold onsite.  No one may enter the Event at the Airport prior to the official Event opening without a valid Work Access Pass.  Otherwise, they must depart the Airport immediately.

Pilots are responsible for their passengers

Pilots will have to fly passengers away from the event if they do not have tickets or do not have an WAP if arriving prior to the official opening. The official opening is 12:01 am PDT Sunday August 27, 2017. GA pilots are required to have a ticket to land.  If a pilot lands without a ticket they must speak with the Airport and/or Air Operations Manager.

Airport Hours – 2017

  • Airport runways are scheduled to open August 23, 2017 at 6:00 AM PDT and will close at 18:30 PDT Monday Sept. 4 for the season
  • Work Access Passes are required prior to 12:01 AM Sunday August 27, 2017
  • Unicom will be staffed daily from 6:00 PDT to 18:30 PDT August 23 – September 4
  • Pilot and/or passengers must land no later than 18:00 PDT
  • Last departure must be wheels-up by 18:30 PDT
  • Ultralight field closes at 19:30 PDT

NO Night Operations

Night Flights (i.e. outside the airport runway operating hours) are prohibited unless previously approved through Air Operations as a special case.

Fuel Tanks

Accessible 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.


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.


Ultra-light landing site is depicted 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 RampPlan.

Flight Training

88NV is a very busy airport and airspace. There is no flight training at 88NV. No student pilot may operate an aircraft even with an instructor, CFI on board. There are NO “touch and gos”, NO “stop and gos” and NO “low and overs”. If licensed pilots wish to do training (BFR for example), they must leave the area and return when training is complete.

Propeller and Rotor Safety

NO “HOT LOADING”!!  The propeller or rotor is difficult to see when in operation, and the nonprofessional public is often not aware of its danger. Even personnel familiar with the danger of a turning propeller or rotor are likely to forget it. Therefore, there will be NO loading or unloading of passengers with a moving propeller or rotor. All aircraft must be shut down before passengers approach or before they deplane. FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THIS RULE WILL CAUSE REVOCATION OF YOUR PERMISSION TO USE 88NV AND POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES FOR 2018.

The Airport

88NV is operated as a “Private-Use of Public Lands” airport on a dry alkali desert lake bed. It is a “see and avoid,” uncontrolled, Class G airspace. You must comply with:

  • FAA rules
  • BLM rules, especially those of the 2017 BLM Closure Order including the commercial Special Recreation Permits
  • BRC Operating Plan
  • 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 suspended license
  • Citation or arrest by BLM and Pershing County Office
  • Citation by the BLM or FAA is considered a violation of Airport rules.
  • Pilots and/or passengers subject to fines

Reporting, Incidents / Accidents

Burning Man and/or Black Rock City Municipal Airport 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). Burning Man and/or Black Rock City Municipal Airport will coordinate with the FAA concerning the runway operations and management of airspace above the city.

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 monitored by the Airport Department Manager, Air Operations Manager, and/or Runway Manager designee.

3. General Safety and Unique Characteristics of 88NV / Black Rock Desert

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 at 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

Anticipate and prepare for high desert conditions when flying into 88NV.

  • High velocity winds
  • Sudden storms
  • High density altitude
  • Uncontrolled airspace/no control tower
  • We are a see-and-avoid Airport
  • Very remote location without hospitals
  • Landing surface of unpaved, dry alkali lake bed
  • Frequent dust storms with white-out conditions

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.

Improper setting of the altimeter is a common error that can be compounded into a deadly accident.

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 cause deadly physiological and mental impairment. The majority of adverse effects produced by alcohol can last as long as 24 hours or more and relate to the brain, eyes, and inner ear…three cruial organs to a pilot.  Observe the commonly known “eight hours (minimum) bottle-to-throttle” and 24 hours is recommended! The FAA prohibits a pilot from flying with an alcohol level of .04 (blood or breath) and it may take longer than 8 hours from your last “party” to reach a .04 level.  Recommended reading:  AM-400-94/2 Alcohol and Flying:

Heat, altitude, alkaline dust, and drinking coffee, tea, soda, or  alochol all affect the mental clarity and response of a pilot due to dehydration and/or electrolyte imbalance.  It is recommended that water and/or electrolyte drinks be increased if consuming caffine, soda, or alcohol.  Caution: Drinking too much water can cause electrolyte imbalances and this has happened in the extreme conditions found at 88NV!


All arriving aviators and passengers are expected to have read 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: 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 not land at Pyramid Lake except in a declared emergency.

Caution Deceptive Ground

The desert and playa ground may be visually deceptive due to spatial disorientation.  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 service ceiling for your aircraft and carefully determine weight and balances when packing your plane to fly to 88NV and when gifting rides.

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)

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 experience huge dust storms with “white-out” conditions.  If you see one coming it is suggested you climb above it and circle until it passes. Know your other landing options.  Entering a “white-out”  condition in a dust cloud may cause sudden disorientation for a VFR pilot.  One study found all pilots were affected by this spatial disorientation and some lost control in 20 seconds!  A “white-out” may sneak-up on you and if you do get caught flying inside a dust cloud it is suggested that you fly straight and level until clear, do a go-around if necessary.  Climbing or turning out of a dust cloud risks a stall, spin, or hitting another aircraft.

Early evening, airport 2016 (photo by fireFLY Paul Drucker)

The photo illustrates how varied conditions may be at the airport from clear to a white-out developing at ground level with the beginning of tall plumes.  The runways may be clear while the village is in a white-out and vice versa.

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 18:00 PDT.

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 its 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 (3500′) of the 6000′ 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.

4. Helicopters

Helicopters are welcome at Burning Man.  GA must contact AirOperations@burningman.org 2 weeks prior to the Event opening. 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. Helicopters are permitted to land on the designated Helipad(s) only. Air Carrier Service helicopters may only land on their designated helipad using 88NV helicopter procedures.


Follow procedures for check in to Black Rock Arrivals (134.7) 10 to 12 miles out to receive landing permission then switch to CTAF on Unicom (122.9) to join the pattern. Fly GA/Slower pattern at 5000’ MSL OR LOWER then sidestep 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
  • Check in and Monitor Ramp Dog (118.35) at all times during taxi
  • NO loading or unloading passengers with a running engine/turning rotor. See Section 2, Propeller and Rotor Safety

5. Ultralight, Balloons, and Everything Else that Flies at 88NV

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

For new pilots, contact Boom (Jake McGuire) or Major Tom (Tom Speirs) to get a briefing, 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, offered every day) so you are familiar with the GA community rules.  

Partial Low Scenic: Ultralights, Paragliders, etc: 5000 MSL (1100 AGL) maximum altitude, 4650 MSL recommended.  Passengers must have Temporary Visa wristband. 

  • Takeoff Airport/Point 5 past Point 1 and 2
  • Turn around at Point 3; turns 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 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 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 2017 BLM Closure Area extends far beyond the fence
  • Follow Airport hours! Don’t take off before 06:00 PDT, or land after 19:30 PDT
  • Enter and Exit via 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.


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 Slow Scenic Pattern. You must have an Aviation Handheld Radio for communication to fly in the Scenic Pattern. All Scenic Pattern Rules apply.

Hang Gliders

If you intend to fly into Black Rock City, you must land on the Ultralight Runway at the Airport. A handheld Aviation band radio is required.

Balloons (tethered or free flight), Hang Gliders, Jet Packs, UFOs, and Drones

Don’t start with Airport if you’re looking to register a drone. Special permission from the Air Operations Manager is required for all other flight operations.  If you are planning on arriving to BRC by air, permission must be granted at least 2 weeks prior to the opening day, August 23, 2017. No permissions will be granted after. AirOperations@burningman.org

6. Unicom and First Arrival

NEW FOR 2017!  To reduce congestion on the CTAF WE NOW HAVE 2 UNICOM FREQUENCIES!! There is an “outer” frequency (134.7), Black Rock Arrivals, to be used outside of 10 miles for position reports as well as for aircraft check in, to confirm documents on board, and to obtain permission to land at BRC private use airport. Once this check in is complete, pilots will be switched to the “inner” frequency, Unicom CTAF (122.9), for reporting, separation and sequencing.  Please ensure you are on the CTAF before Gerlach to report your intentions to join the pattern.

Pilots are required to turn on landing lights, strobes, and transponder at least 10 – 12 miles from 88NV. This greatly increases your visibility and enables your plane to be recognized by aircraft with TCAS: Traffic Collision Avoidance System.

Black Rock Arrivals (134.7)

  • Use Black Rock Arrivals outside of 10 miles if not talking to ATC.  Position reports suggested over Pyramid Lake and Empire.
  • Check in with Black Rock Arrivals 10 to 12 miles from 88NV (after passing Empire if coming from the South)
  • Report current location, destination 88NV, and tail number (BxA check in with “Ritual” and flight number)
  • Upon BRA request, give pilot name, landing code (Code received upon successful completion of the Pilot Test) and confirm required documents on board
  • Upon verification, BRA arrival will give “permission to land at Black Rock City Airport” Permission to land is an authorization to use BRC Municipal Private Airport; it is not a landing clearance. All landings, once permission is granted, are at pilots’ discretion.
  • BRA will advise Runway in use, Altimeter, Temperature, and any known restrictions or significant weather.
  • Advise intention if entering the Inbound Scenic Pattern at 7000’MSL before arrival. See Scenic Charts for more information.
  • After administrative check is complete, you will be switched to Unicom CTAF 122.9.  Please be on this frequency by Gerlach.

NOTE: Aircraft arriving from the north or the east should consider 2 options. 1) Remain wide of the city and above the downwind altitude, watch for traffic exiting the Scenic Pattern, fly behind Razorback to descend to pattern altitude, join pattern over Frog Pond or,  2) Remain wide of the city, and above the downwind altitude, fly south to Empire, and join the flow of traffic from the south.

Sample Check In

Pilot: Black Rock Arrivals, N12345, 6000′ over Empire

Black Rock Arrivals: N12345 state pilot name, landing code and confirm required documents on board?

Pilot:  Black Rock Arrivals, N12345, {Pilot Name}, {Landing code} and confirm documents on board

[At this time Black Rock Arrivals will reconcile pilot name and landing code on computer]

Black Rock Arrivals: N12345, permission to land at Black Rock City Municipal private use airport, pilot’s discretion. Runway 23L, altimeter 29.92, Temperature 32* C.  Frequency change approved to Unicom (122.9)  

[Pilot switches to Unicom, 122.9]


  • Check in with Unicom when landing permission received from BRA
  • Announce position and intentions
  • Join appropriate pattern as per Air Charts and make all reports
  • Unicom will confirm Runway in use, current winds and any significant weather or information.
Describing Your Airplane on the CTAF.

UNDER 4,500 pounds gross weight

  • 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

  • model/type of plane: B1900 or Caravan, etc.
  • if part of BxA announce call sign “Ritual”


Identify yourself as a helicopter (we do not need your model).

NEW FOR 2017 FOR 23L

We separate slower aircraft from faster aircraft at 88NV. All aircraft monitor and communicate intentions on (122.9).

GA = General Aviation aircraft          HP = High Performance aircraft

“DOGMA” = Point on the downwind abeam beginning of Razorback Mountain where HP/faster aircraft will begin descent from 5500′ MSL.

Coming in from the West at Gerlach
  • GA/slower planes (<120 knots downwind speed), right wingtip towards RR (north side) tracks 5000′ MSL (1100′ AGL)
  • HP/faster planes (>120 knots downwind speed), left wingtip towards RR tracks (south side) 5500′ MSL (1600′ AGL) until point “DOGMA” then descend to 5000′ MSL (1100′ AGL) (This is new and ensures 500’ above GA/Slower until past beginning of Razorback and then descent to 5000” and below to ensure below Scenic Traffic exiting Point 3.)
  • Downwind 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

NEW FOR 2017 FOR 05L (Reverse Pattern)

  • All traffic will arrive straight in and all Scenic/traffic from the North will join downwind over Frog Pond.

Frog Pond and Old Razorback are used as reference points and found on Google Maps.  The air charts have topography shown and are also helpful for understanding the terrain.  Frog Pond/Razorback are on one side of a  large saddle or valley (see below). Jungo Road runs alongside Old Razorback and the railroad 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 beginning of your entry to the downwind.. 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.

Frog Pond Valley 2012 (photo by Dean Siracusa)Frog Pond Valley 2012 (photo by Dean Siracusa)

VFR Landmarks

In case of dust storm: if you are above the storm, go around. If you are in the storm, fly straight and level. Use caution if climbing into a dust storm as you may climb into another aircraft that you cannot see.

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.

In the event of a Go-Around

  • 23L – HP/Faster: Maintain runway heading climb to 5000′ MSL for 2 miles then climb to return to the pattern. GA/Slower: Climb runway heading to 4500’ MSL for 2 miles then climb to return to the pattern
  • 05L – HP/Faster: Climb to 5000′ for 2 miles then make a gentle left turn for 3 Miles then return to the pattern on N side of RR Tracks. GA/Slower: Climb to 4500′ for 4 miles then climb to 5000′ and return to the pattern on N side of the RR Tracks.

7. Landing, Required Documents, Passengers

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 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 (500’ AGL) except in an emergency!

Flying over the desert (which appears visually uniform) 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.

Landing Recommendations

  • GA/slower aircraft, aim to land at 3500′ of the runway, marked by series of cones and HP/faster aircraft, aim for the threshold of 6000′. There are no numbers depicted on the runways. Look for large black chevrons pointing to the thresholds of 23L and 05L.
  • No direct entry to the Landing Pattern from the Scenic Pattern
  • Do not rush your landings — if something isn’t right, go around and remember that Density Altitude may effect your rate of climb
  • Fly your aircraft at the indicated airspeed appropriate to your aircraft’s AOM/POH
  • Partial power approaches advised, and steep, power-off approaches are not needed
  • Shallow descent at 500 fpm or less, and be in your landing configuration before you go below 500 feet AGL
  • Trikes: land on the mains and keep your nose wheel in the air as long as possible (don’t land flat on all 3 wheels because the nose wheel may dig in)
  • Taildraggers: 3 point landing preferred
  • If using carb heat, turn off before touchdown
  • Minimal brakes if any and only as needed, no tight turns, runway is firm but delicate
  • For Air Carrier Operators, beta not advised due to possible damage to the runway

In case of dust storm: if you are above the storm, go around. If you are in the storm, fly straight and level. Use caution if climbing into a dust storm as you may climb into another aircraft that you cannot see.

Runway Closure

Runway closures will be announced by Black Rock Arrivals (134.7) or Unicom (122.9). If the closure is brief, BRA or 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

Follow these procedures to keep the runway in good shape for the entire event:

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

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

Active Runway Change

In the event of a runway change, Unicom will advise the airport is temporarily closed to clear the aircraft on final.  Unicom will advise those inbound aircraft to go into the Scenic Pattern at 7000′ or above or remain clear of the area. Pilots who are already in the pattern and willing to accept 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 05L, reverse pattern, Black Rock City Airport is open”.

After Landing

  1. Do not turn around and back taxi on the runway.
  2. Check in with Ground (Ramp Dog, 118.35) with tail number and number of new arrivals, or advise if returning from scenic flight. It is required to contact 118.35 during all taxi, park, and start-up for ground advisories and parking information.
  3. Move slowly off the runway as soon as possible and taxi towards the terminal, watch out for the cones.
  4. 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.
  5. Watch out for dunes
  6. When taxiing be aware of your prop blast  … move at a walking speed.
  7. 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 your plane.
  8. 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.

Required Landing Documents
what- 2 maps, Noooo

All aircraft will be met by an Interceptor except scenic returns.  (Burner Express Air 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:

  • Tickets (or confirmed at Will Call) for all on board
  • $60 airport use fee per person (cash or plastic OK) — or a printed shiftboard schedule for 88NV volunteers
  • Flight Manifest print copy & landing code (we told you to write that down!)
  • Downloaded or printed copy of briefing documents and charts

Passenger Protocol

Passengers must be escorted at all times to/from all aircraft, through all Gates at Airport, and while inside the Arrivals area. Arriving passengers are escorted by the pilot, or in the case of commercial charter flights, their Air Carrier Representative. Passengers of Burner Express Air will be escorted by pilots and/or dedicated staff. 

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 Operator 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

You are welcome to use our luggage carts to transport your luggage between the airplane and Arrivals terminal. Return luggage carts to the Arrivals terminal for future arriving Burners. Toward the end of the event, be sure to leave luggage carts in the terminal area for departing Burners. 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 a Special Recreation Permit (SRP) 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 who are all newly arriving to the Event, with any number of landings

Transporting a total of 6 people who are not returning to the Event, with any number of departures

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.

8. Parking

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
.  We try to segregate airplanes based on how active they’ll be, to keep dust and traffic away from quieter areas:

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

pink whiskers

All spots will have a small pink whisker in the ground.  Spots that are taken will have a blue square marker secured in place, 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. When you do find a parking spot you must tie your plane down immediately.

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 = Orange Trash Fence = 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 or Pedestrian Gate.


All three camping locations are popular:

  • The ramp (next to your airplane) tends to be the quietest place to be at night, and you may be able to get some shade from your plane, but you will also be fully exposed to the wind.  
  • The airport village is just inside the airport gate.  Ask for the Airport Support Services Manager (Cyan) upon arrival for help finding an unclaimed and appropriate campsite.
  • If you want to camp in the city, please be aware that it’s a long trip.  It is about half a mile between the airport and outer edge of the city.  It can be as much as an additional mile to get to your destination within the city.  Rides are available via an occasional BxA shuttle during peak hours, or passing mutant vehicles if you ask nicely.

Passengers who will be Camp Mates

Gate staff will assist you in obtaining a special camping wristband to allow you in and out of the gate without escort.

Guests of pilots camped outside the fence must be escorted by the pilot or have a valid wristband to access the GA Ramp outside the Gate. If they do not have a wristband they will not be let back into the event.

9. Fuel

Allen fueling his Seawind 3000 at old fuel depot (photo from Allen Low)
2014 old fuel depot CAVU fueling SeaWind (photo by Allen Low)

There is no aviation fuel for sale or available to you at BRC unless you participate in the Group Fuel Buy-In.  The 55 gallon drums with hand pump have been replaced by a 2000 gallon tank with an electric pump. AIRCRAFT MUST FUEL AT FUEL STATION from pump and may not use fuel cans.

2016 Fuel Tank and pump (photo by Sandi Kovach-Long)

BRC pilots are responsible for fueling their own planes under supervision of the fuel attendant during posted hours and conducting the standard fuel contamination checks.

Private storage of Av fuel is not allowed with the exception of MoGas for Ultralights, Paragliders, etc.  Ultralights, paragliders, etc.: Metal fuel containers are recommended as they are easier to bond 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.


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


Fuel storage guidelines are found here for BRC camps.   Fuel containers may only be filled up to 80% to allow for expansion and must be kept in a secondary Fuel Containment Unit. Large quantities (drum) of fuel must be stored 100 feet away from neighboring camps and 10 feet away from ignition sources in your own camp and have prior approval, contact AirportSafety@burningman.org.  All fuel containers and drums must be stored in a Fuel Containment Unit which is easily made from a cement mixing tub, oil changing pan, plastic bin, kiddie pool, fuel resistant tarp on frame, etc.  The capacity of any Fuel Containment Unit should be at least 110% of fuel stored.

10. Departures

On Playa Pre-Flight

  1. Sign out with Scenic Sentry if you intend to return
  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. Check in with Ramp Dog on (118.35)


  1. Never takeoff from taxiway / ramp.
  2. When taxiing to/from 23R-05L, slow down, and do not dust the Medevac area
  3. Check-in with Ramp Dog on 118.35 for current altimeter or ground traffic info
  4. Prior to entering runway, switch to (122.9), announce departure to Unicom for advisory information
  5. Slow rolling run-ups to avoid prop and runway damage.
  6. Use soft field technique.
  7. Use ground effect to build-up speed then climb
  8. 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
  9. Lights and strobes and transponders must be on within the 2017 BLM Closure Area.

Starting Engines

  1. Pull (or push) your plane out perpendicular to  parked aircraft so prop wash goes down movement lane, not onto planes or camps
  2. If you need assistance ask RampPage or nearby pilots
  3. Be patient! Monitor Ramp Dog (118.35), listen and watch for other aircraft/vehicles/people, announce your intentions, and be courteous
  4. If it’s really busy and you’re worried about engine temps, shut down, open your doors, and wait until safe

Departing Toward Reno

Departure with usual prevailing winds: use 23R straight out

  1. GA/slower aircraft maintain 4500 MSL (600 AGL) for 2 miles.  HP/faster aircraft maintain 5000 MSL (1100 AGL) for 1 mile.
  2. CAUTION be aware of the potential for planes crossing the playa when returning from Soldier Meadow or elsewhere.
  3. Landing lights and strobes and transponder must be on at all times within the 2017 BLM Closure Area.
  4. Simple position reports:  Red low-wing departing 23R straight out for Reno.

Departure with reverse pattern: use 05R straight out

  • GA aircraft maintain 4500 MSL (600 AGL) for 3 miles. BxA/HP maintain 5000 MSL for two miles, then climb to altitude.
  • CAUTION there may be planes crossing over at a higher altitude
  • 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 2017 BLM Closure Order
  • DO NOT fly over the BRC event (i.e. within the trash fence).

Emergency One Runway Operation

In the event that only one runway is open, airborne 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. When waiting for the runway never cut in line.

11. Flying During the Event: Scenic Pattern 

All Pilots must have a Briefed Pilot Wristband for flying during the Event

You must attend the on-playa Pilot Briefing which is held daily at 10:00 PDT.  Upon successful completion of the on-playa Briefing, pilots receive a wristband allowing them to fly during the event.

Radio Reports

The primary function of the pilot is to fly the plane. 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 aircraft should fly closer to the trash fence in the Scenic Pattern. If you are going to pass a slower plane:

  • Announce your intention
  • Give your position at Points along the BRC pentagon (Airport is at Point 5)
  • Give your altitude
  • Pass on the outside/left wing of the overtaken aircraft
  • Watch-Out for 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
  • Returning traffic and scenics: all passengers must have wristbands or you will be intercepted

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.

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

  1. Takeoff Point 5/Airport
  2. Continue past Point 1 and Point 2
  3. Turn around at Point 3 (can be “wide” and may extend slightly past Point 3)
  4. Come back past Point 2 and then Point 1
  5. Land at Point 5/Airport

Slow Scenic: 5500’ MSL (1600′ AGL) = all aircraft flying between 60-120 knots.

Fast Scenic: 6000’ MSL (2100′ AGL) = all aircraft flying greater than 120 knots.

Inbound Scenic: 7000’ MSL (3100′ AGL) = all Inbound aircraft have the option of flying the Scenic Pattern before proceeding to the  Landing Pattern.  This includes GA and Air Carrier returning flights and new arrivals.

VFR Landmarks     

The Airport is at Point 5 of the pentagon trash fence.   

  • 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.

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.

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.

12. Gifting Rides

Halvy shows how much gifting rides is in this short video!

Scenic Sentry – Sign-in

On your way through the pedestrian gate, sign-out with the Scenic Sentry and give them:

  • Your name and/or playa name
  • Tail number
  • Number of passengers

Finding Passengers:  Gifting Rides through Ride Wrangler

The Ride Wrangler matches Burners with available pilots for scenic flights around the city.  If you’re in need of passengers, talk to him or her.  Location of the Ride Wrangler will be posted on the Airport Status Board.

Passenger Protocol  

We prioritize gift flights to volunteers (when they’re off duty!)

  • Pilots are responsible for the safety and conduct of passengers
  • Passengers must have an appropriate re-entry wristband to go onto ramp and return through Airport Gate and get back into the event
  • Pilots must personally escort all passengers to and from aircraft and the gate
  • Park in transient parking/staging area if you are making multiple flights