Traffic Jam


Returning from our Great Eclipse trip in western Oregon to our home base near Reno, Nevada, we ran across this steady stream of space invaders on the ADS-B (Sorry for the glare – it was a snapshot of the iPad screen). Zooming out a bit, it became obvious that we were seeing the exodus of airplanes from  the east side of the Cascade range, and most of the planes seemed to be headed back down into California – the Bay Area and beyond. It appears the Madras, Redmond, and the surrounding airports were, indeed, fully packed.

We saw similar traffic on the ground below us as we crossed Interstate 5 in the Willamette Valley – to put it mildly, we were really glad we were in the air. The southbound traffic north of Corvallis appeared to be gridlocked.

It’s fascinating and amusing for us to see this much traffic. In the Carson City area, we rarely see more than a couple of ADS-B hits at a time – it’s nice to go somewhere with traffic occasionally, just to make sure the system worked!

It sure appeared to be working a few hours after the eclipse – and a good thing, too, for anyone calling for VFR flight following was greeted with an “unable due to traffic” from ATC.  This just gives a whole new meaning to see and avoid.

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Paul Dye
Paul Dye, KITPLANES® Editor at Large, retired as a Lead Flight Director for NASA’s Human Space Flight program, with 40 years of aerospace experience on everything from Cubs to the Space Shuttle. An avid homebuilder, he began flying and working on airplanes as a teen and has experience with a wide range of construction techniques and materials. He flies an RV-8 and SubSonex jet that he built, an RV-3 that he built with his pilot wife, as well as a Dream Tundra and an electric Xenos motorglider they completed. Currently, they are building an F1 Rocket. A commercially licensed pilot, he has logged over 6000 hours in many different types of aircraft and is an A&P, FAA DAR, EAA Tech Counselor and Flight Advisor; he was formerly a member of the Homebuilder’s Council. He consults and collaborates in aerospace operations and flight-testing projects across the country.


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