Local Flying Tips for Flying Safely in the Aerobatic Box, East of Santa Paula
1. What is the extent of the aerobatic area?
The waivered aerobatic area is outlined on the map below. For exact coordinates, see the Special Notices section of a current Airport/Facilities Directory (AFD).
2. When is the aerobatic area active?
The aerobatic area is likely to be active from sunrise to sunset whenever the weather is VFR.
3. What are the altitudes specified in the waiver?
Waivered aerobatic activity is confined to the block of altitude beginning at 1500 feet AGL up to 5500 feet MSL.
4. Can anyone use the aerobatic area?
Yes and no: anyone can fly in and through the waivered area; however, ONLY THOSE PILOTS AND AIRPLANES specifically authorized by, and adhering to the provisions of, a waiver issued by the Van Nuys FSDO can perform aerobatics legally in the valley East of Santa Paula.
5. How can I tell if the aerobatic area is active?
a. If it’s day VFR, assume aerobatic flight is in progress in the waivered area.
b. Contact Point Mugu Approach on 124.7 and ask if the area is active.
c. Pilots in aircraft with radios are encouraged to monitor 122.775 when transitioning through the valley. Simply transmit in the blind, “Santa Paula Aerobatic Area, is anyone out here?” or something similar.
6. How can I minimize the risk of a close encounter with an aerobatic airplane in the area?
a. Look outside!
b. Assume the area is active at all times.
c. Avoid flying straight down the center of the valley at 3,000 feet MSL — most aerobatic activity occurs 2,000-4,500 ft MSL between SZP and Fillmore. Aerobatic pilots from VNY typically fly over Newhall area. Local aerobatic pilots also tend to divide the practice area into two parts: North of the 126 FWY, South of the 126 FWY.
Whenever conditions make it safe to do so, the best plan would be to fly over the top of the freeway or along the foothills on either side of the valley.
7. How many aerobatic airplanes might be in the waivered area at any one time?
Particularly during the weekends in the summer months, it’s possible for the area to have as many as 3-4 airplanes performing aerobatics pursuant to a waiver at the same time! Again, keep your head on a swivel and monitor 122.775 if you can.