Late Wednesday night, the FAA created a "no-fly zone" over a large area in the Gulf in order to, uhm, secure the safety of cleanup workers or something.
No pilots may operate an aircraft in the areas covered by this NOTAM (except as described).
Pursuant to 14 CFR section 91.137(a)(1) temporary flight restrictions are in effect for deepwater horizon/mississippi canyon (mc252) incident cleanup and reconstitution operations an area bounded by: 290500n/0904000w or the leeville /lev/ vortac 258 degree radial at 30.1 NM to 300000n/0890000w or the gulfport /gpt/ vortac 169 degree radial at 24.7 NM to 300000n/0870000w or the crestview /cew/ vortac 196 degree radial at 52.2 NM to 280000n/0870000w or the panama city /pfn/ vortac 208 degree radial at 149.6 NM to 280000n/0904000w or the leeville /lev/ vortac 201 degree radial at 76.3 NM to the point of beginning at and below 3000 feet AGL excluding the airspace outside of 12 nautical miles from the us coastline. This area is also depicted on U.S. Gulf coast VFR aeronautical chart id helgc as an area bounded from south pelto 2/sp02 then to south pass 6/sp06 then to chandler 39/ch39 then to pensacola 984/pe984 then to desoto canyon 635/dc635 to south timbalair 242/st242 and then back to original point.
All aircraft operations are prohibited except those flights authorized by ATC, routine flights supporting offshore oil operations; federal, state, local and military flight operations supporting oil spill recovery and reconstitution efforts; and air medical and law enforcement operations.
While there might be low-level aircraft in the area (say, operating at 2,500 feet or lower) spraying dispersal agents, it would seem quite odd to ban all flights over the Gulf coastal region -- especially for news agencies trying to document the extent of the spill.
Except if the administration were trying to prevent news agencies from documenting the extent of the spill. And, thus, the extent of their incompetence.
What is the administration hiding?
Update: In the comments, GulfCoastBamaFan observes that the GIS (Geographical Information System) data related to the spill is now unavailable:
They also have a gag order on the GIS data for this incident, in direct contradition with NIMS protocol. Here's a letter from the GIS Institute's founder and the guy that set up the GIS servers and systems.
I've been trying in vain for weeks to get up-to-date data after either BP or the Joint Incident Command center in Houma, LA put all the GIS servers behind a firewall. Those data are supposed to be public record, and they will be critical in documenting response efforts.
All I want to do is post an updated map of the slick on my blog's Deepwater Horizon Timeline, using my own GIS application. But I can't get the slick data.
The level of mismanagement, the attempts to deceive, the quarantining of important data, the incompetence is as colossal as the incident itself.
GulfCoastBamaFan later pointed out that the GIS Institute took that letter down. I saved a copy and Google's cache still has a version available.
Related: Obama's Katrina: an Illustrated Timeline.
Hat tip: Pat. Linked by: Gateway Pundit and Jawa Report. Thanks!