Longtime EAAer Regrets TFR Incursion
By Ric Reynolds, News Editor, EAA 642317
Winston, Myrt Rose's 1941 J-3 Cub, won an award at AirVenture 2007.
Myrt and her airplane in South Barrington, Illinois.
August 10, 2011 – Several times a week, Myrt Rose, EAA 810977/Vintage 719607, flies her award-winning vintage 1941 Piper J-3 Cub low and slow around the patch near her South Barrington, Illinois, home. But the flight she took on August 3 is one she never should have made.
Myrt, who had just returned from her annual journey to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, had not flown her Cub in a week. She usually checks the NOTAMS online before flying, but this day she said she couldn’t log on.
“It was a beautiful afternoon,” she said, so she went to the hangar at Mill Rose Farm Airport, a grass strip located a short distance from her home, preflighted the airplane, and took off.
Unfortunately for Myrt, she should have called 800-WX Brief, where she would have learned from Flight Service that a presidential TFR was in place including the airspace over South Barrington as President Obama was back home for a fundraiser celebrating his 50th birthday. That became apparent as she was winding down her short flight; two F-16 fighter jets appeared to intercept her. Myrt said she had just made two circles at about 1,000 feet AGL around the grave of her late husband, Bill, who passed away last year, and saw one of the jets.
Further complicating matters was the fact that she did not have her radio on, thus ATC could not alert Myrt that she was violating restricted airspace.
“I didn't have my radio on. I was just flying around,” she said.
Myrt’s first thought when seeing the jet was that the pilot must have been admiring her vintage plane, which she affectionately calls Winston. After all, it garnered the EAA Outstanding Customized Antique Aircraft Award at AirVenture 2007.
“I thought, ‘Oh, well, they're just looking at how cute the Cub is,’” she told the Associated Press.
Myrt regrets the incident, and could face action from the FAA, ranging from a fine to a suspension, or maybe nothing at all. She is receiving assistance from the EAA Legal Advisory Council.
“I feel terrible about it,” she said. She’s been flying since the mid-1960s, and once performed as a wing-walker.
Myrt has been coming to Oshkosh since 1973. Her late husband owned Rose Packing Co., a meat packer that supplies Canadian bacon to McDonald's restaurants.
Myrt’s incident should serve as a reminder to all pilots to check the NOTAMS before every flight. And in case you do experience a military intercept, learn about what you should do by reading “Wrong Place, Wrong Time: TFRs and Getting Intercepted” from the December 2010 edition of EAA Sport Aviation.