Seattle TRACON (S46) – Special Activities / Event Airspace Coordination

This page serves as a starting point for coordinating Special Activities and Photogrammetric Flights within Seattle TRACON (S46) airspace. These S46 special activities include aerial surveys, air shows, fireworks, and military exercises which will occur in the airspace controlled by Seattle TRACON. Please note that some types of special activities require coordination/approval from other FAA and non-FAA entities, for example, Parachute Jumps sometimes require Certificates of Authorization from the local Flight Standards District Office (FSDO).

At S46, we handle a large amount Special Activities and photogrammetric mission requests each year while simultaneously providing Air Traffic Control (ATC) services on a 24/7 basis. Some activities are fairly simple, while others are very involved and require complex coordination. Our goal is to complete as much coordination as possible in advance, rather than discussing fine details on a live ATC frequency.

Due to the complex nature of Seattle TRACON airspace, pilots are expected to be at VFR altitudes while operating in the Class Bravo airspace. Additionally, it is expected that the pilot's equipment be calibrated to ensure a single altitude and not a block altitude. This is more imperative the closer the aircraft is to the arrival and departure corridors and the duration of work.

We will make every reasonable effort to accommodate requests, depending upon the impact to the safe and expeditious movement of aircraft within our airspace.

How to Submit Your Request

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How Much Time to Plan Ahead

Special Activity and photogrammetric requests must be submitted with enough lead time to allow us to prepare a comprehensive briefing package for the air traffic controllers. In order to provide the safest and most efficient ATC services possible, we have categorized each type of Special Activity into four Groups: A, B, C, and D. Please refer to the list below to determine which group your activity falls in and the amount of advance notification required:

GROUP A: Reserved for emergency handling or unpredicted situations

GROUP B: 5 business days advance coordination required

  1. Aerial Survey, Minor (a minor project is less than 5-hours total survey)
  2. Photogrammetric flight request, Minor
  3. Aerial Training Area (activity in or activation of)
  4. Balloons/Lanterns (tethered, hot air, helium)
  5. GPS testing
  6. Parachute Jumping/Sky diving
  7. Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)

GROUP C: 10 business days advance coordination required

  1. Firework shows
  2. Fly-bys/fly overs
  3. Lasers
  4. Military Exercises

GROUP D: 15 business days advance coordination required

  1. Airshow
  3. Fly-in
  4. Aerial Survey, Major (a major project is 5 hours or more or can last multiple days)
  5. Photogrammetric flight request, Major
  6. Sporting event TFR
  7. VIP Operation

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What Happens Next?

Once the Specialist Team receives your request (within the specified time), you will be contacted regarding your activity. It's important to remember that submitting a request DOES NOT automatically constitute an approval. Many complex activities (aerial surveys, parachute jumping, etc.) will be approved by the air traffic controller on a real-time basis and will be dependent upon a number of factors including traffic volume, weather and equipment status. If you have any questions about the status of your request, contact

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