A Guide to Viewing Fourth of July Fireworks From Your Airplane

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Updated June 10, 2019
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Trever

Trever is a commercial pilot with over 1,700 hours of flight time as well as the owner and general manager of Inflight. He has numerous hours of mountain flying experience and a serious passion for teaching. In just 2 years he earned his Gold Seal Flight Instructor at the age of 22 and became a flight school owner at 23 years old.

As a private pilot, you are able to view the world in an entirely different way from the air compared to on the ground. And one of the best views from above comes once a year on the Fourth of July. The aerial view of a fireworks display, many times multiple displays depending on your vantage point, is a sight that you won’t soon forget.

Looking for more information? Keep reading to learn more about viewing the fireworks from your private aircraft this Independence Day.

Is it Safe to Fly Over Fireworks on July 4th?

As long as the sky is clear, you’re properly licensed and rated for flying at night, following airspace restriction regulations and confident that the bright flashes from the fireworks won’t distract you in an unsafe way, then flying on the Fourth of July is safe.

Develop a Flight Plan

First things first, as with any flight, you need to have a thorough plan in place. Do some online research or read local newspapers to find out where the best firework displays will be in your area. Huge metropolitan areas like New York City, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. have multiple spectacular displays visible from the air, but will also have airspace restrictions in place, so you will need to plan ahead so you don’t come under violation of any rules set out by the FAA.

Staying Safe while Flying Over Fireworks

The majority of fireworks only travel a few hundred feet into the air, and rarely go higher than 1,000 feet above ground level (AGL). Since federal aviation regulations dictate that you must be at least 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a 2,000-foot horizontal radius of your flight position, you shouldn’t have to worry about being hit by any of the fireworks. In terms of safety, your biggest concern should be the other VFR traffic circling the area, as you certainly won’t be the only person up there. More and more folks are also flying drones to film fireworks, so be mindful of those as well.

Overall, you should try to maintain at least 1,500 feet AGL while flying over fireworks. Always maintain visibility by keeping your strobes on and paying attention to other air traffic in the area. Many pilots will have the same idea as you, so keep your radio tuned to the local common traffic advisory radio frequency and be in contact with air traffic control when in controlled airspace. Also, always have a GPS system or some form of navigation like Foreflight with you, as its harder to determine where the airport is because of so many bright lights flashing around you.

Avoid circling too close to the display to avoid any calls or complaints from spectators on the ground. Even though you may be a safe distance away from the fireworks in the air, it may not seem that way from the ground. Also, ensure the safety of you and your passengers by delegating photo opportunities to someone other than the pilot.

In Conclusion

Seeing the fireworks from your own aircraft is an exciting, unique experience that every pilot should try at least once. Remember, the most dangerous thing when flying on the Fourth of July isn’t the fireworks, it’s the other air traffic. While you should always maintain at least 1,500 AGL to be safe, most fireworks won’t come close to reaching your plane’s altitude. Overall, develop and stick to a flight plan, keep your radio tuned to the right frequencies, follow airspace restrictions and safety guidelines, and you’ll have a great flight this Independence Day.

Do You Want to Become a Pilot?

Whether you’re someone that wants to learn to fly or a certified pilot who wants to further their education, the team at Inflight Pilot Training can help you gain the freedom to travel wherever and whenever you wish.

Ready to get started? Inflight Pilot Training is a leading flight instruction company serving Minneapolis, St. Paul and the surrounding areas. With a reputable training program and an extensive roster of highly skilled, certified flight instructors, we can give you the freedom to fly to the greatest destinations in our great state.
For additional information on Inflight training programs, contact us today or call (952) 698-3000.


Trever

Trever is a commercial pilot with over 1,700 hours of flight time as well as the owner and general manager of Inflight. He has numerous hours of mountain flying experience and a serious passion for teaching. In just 2 years he earned his Gold Seal Flight Instructor at the age of 22 and became a flight school owner at 23 years old.