Welcome to the Central Oregon Aviation Safety page. This page is dedicated to information useful to pilots flying in Central Oregon.
If you are a leader of a flight school, aviation organization or aviation company and wish to be part of the Central Oregon Aviation Safety Group, then email me through the Contact page with your request.
Aviation activities are experiencing significant growth in Central Oregon. The sky’s are very busy! In short, every Central Oregon airport is experiencing increased activity. Pilots be warned, you need to keep an eye out and communicate well when flying. When the pattern is busy, PLEASE use standard pattern entries as found in the Airplane Flying Handbook and AC 90-66B w/Change 1 (Non-Towered Airport Flight Operations), as this will enhance safety greatly when the airports are busy, especially at Bend. Concise, accurate communications will also help alleviate traffic pattern issues
Please be sure to review the graphics below for some information on where there is a high density of aircraft activity, along with the radio frequencies used in those practice areas. In addition to the practice areas there is a significant amount of instrument training so aircraft are often flying practice instrument approaches in to all of the local airports (except Sisters and Lake Billy Chinook). The Redmond airport has the highest concentration of this activity. See below for important safety information.
Seattle Center (ZSE) ATC safety info for Central Oregon.
This page contains graphics and info supplied by Seattle Center to help with the airline traffic conflicts going into Redmond. Please read!
Procedures for ADS-B Equipped Aircraft Flying Within 25 NM or Deschutes VORTAC (DSD)
ADS-B equipped aircraft flying VFR within 25nm of DSD are requested to squawk 1237 and broadcast Flight ID. This allows Center controllers to see tail numbers easier and call monitoring aircraft if a conflict arises. Of course this also means pilots need to monitor 126.15 whenever able, in this area. To be clear, squawking 1237 means that you are monitoring 126.15, otherwise, there is not point in using the special squawk.
These procedures have proven to be very useful but participation is necessary to make it work. Details can be found on the 12/14/2021 LTA, found on the Seattle Center info page Here, on the Seattle Center safety info page (link above), or on the BDN and RDM NOTAMs.
LEFA Helicopter Ops Manual, 4 May 2023.
If you wish to learn how the flight school helicopters operate at Bend, here is their manual.
Dept. of Forestry SmokeJumpers
The Dept. of Forestry Smokejumpers publish a NOTAM for each training/proficiency jump. With few exceptions (out in the Ochocos), each NOTAM is filed under DSD with pointers to the closest applicable airports. And as soon as the jumps are completed, the NOTAMs are canceled. This means be aware flying in the vicinity of these NOTAMS as there are low flying aircraft conducting parachute drops of people, and sometimes supplies, into these areas. Aircraft altitudes are usually 3,000 to 5,000 AGL. The drop locations used are found in the Hazard Map linked below.
Hazard Map v2.31
Avoid DSD and use Virtual VORs
Pilots are requested to avoid the Deschutes VOR (DSD) as much as possible. Due to the number of approaches that start and end at DSD, this location is very busy. This also can interfere with airline traffic. If you need to practice VOR holds, please consider using virtual VORs as much as possible. Jay Bunning, Leading Edge Helicopter CFI, has made a great video on using virtual VORs. See that HERE. There is also a website with information on this HERE.
Finding LTAs via NOTAM Searches
Finding Letters to Airmen (LTAs) can be difficult if one does not know where to look. These days many pilots read NOTAMs via Foreflight or Garmin flight planning software. Unfortunately, LTAs do not show up on these platforms. A request has been sent to these companies to change that. In the meantime, one location LTAs can be found on NOTAMs is pilotweb.nas.faa.gov/PilotWeb, the FAA NOTAMs search page.
Redmond (RDM) ATIS phone number
The number is 541-548-1742. It is published in the Chart Supplement.
This is also a reminder to monitor Center, 126.15, when in the area so you can listen for traffic alerts. If you have ADS-B out, Center can cold call you to provide a traffic alert. This is great for safety when center is able to do so.
Bend Airport Best Practices
Safer Skies – Bend Airport Best Practices
Traffics get very dense at the Bend airport. Too many pilots are using non-standard entries and other procedures that can cause issues when traffic density is high. Please read the linked Best Practices paper and fly using standard FAA procedures to help keep yourself and everyone else safe.
Special Use Airspace (SUA) Warning
This warning comes from my own observation due to a recent event. As I understand it, the Redhawk MOA was created as a backup area for use when the coastal MOAs are weathered out. Well the Redhawk MOA was active on Friday, September 13th, a beautiful sunny day. So airspace creep may be occurring. The point is to be sure to check the activity of any special use airspace you plan on entering. A couple of ways this can be done by checking Center NOTAMS or the FAA’s Special Use website: https://sua.faa.gov/sua/siteFrame.app.
This link to FAA Special Use Airspace is also on my home page and at the bottom of this page under General Safety. The website shows active airspace and airspace that is scheduled to go active with time ranges of when an airspace will go active. The site is very useful so be sure to check it out.
Seattle Center Video
This video shows the Redmond, OR area from the controllers point of view. There is a lot of congestion in the area and VFR aircraft can cause issues for IFR traffic into RDM. PLEASE WATCH and be aware when flying in Central Oregon, especially within 25 NM of the Deschutes VOR.
RDM Area Letter To Airmen (LTA)
All pilots please read! Important safety information concerning traffic in the vicinity of DSD & RDM.
Seattle Center has opened a new sector for the Redmond area. This began on May 23rd, 2019. See the attachment, ZSE New sector for Seattle ARTCC that Seattle Center issued on 4/25/2019.
Practice Area Graphics
These practice areas get quite busy with maneuvering aircraft. See the below graphics for awareness of traffic and training area frequencies.
East Practice Area 1.2– East of Bend (updated 3 Mar 2020)
North Training Area & Aerobatic practice area 1.2 – Between Redmond & Madras
West Practice Area 1.0 – Northwest of Bend
NOTE: The Madras Airport regularly has a Sunday morning fly-in for donuts & coffee. Several aircraft participate which means above average traffic in the area. Some of these aircraft do not have radios so stay aware!
Leading Edge Aviation Safety Management System
LEA encourages everyone to report any safety issues (actions or conditions) that involves safety at the Bend airport.
To send a report, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text (541) 699-6974
Central Oregon Airports (public access)
Please realize that 2 Central Oregon airports have right-hand traffic patterns for one of their runways (BDN & S21). Many aircraft show up and fly incorrect patterns, creating problems. It is obvious those pilots failed to plan properly. Please do proper preflight planning.
Bend AWOS Bend Airport Madras Airport Prineville Airport Redmond Airport Sisters Airport Sunriver Airport Lake Billy Chinook Airport
Bend CTAF on LiveATC.net You can listen to Bend traffic calls online now. Yet another reason to use good and proper radio procedures.
Warm Springs Test Range/Proving Ground
Introduction to Warm Springs UAS Test Range Presentation Short PowerPoint presentation on the test range and UAS flying in Central Oregon.
UAS Test Range – Be Aware! General safety information concerning the Warm springs Test Range.
Warm Springs Test Range graphics. Check ZSE NOTAMS for activity and please avoid flying low (below 1,500 AGL) in this area during active times, for your safety.
The coordinates are N44’51’5.84 / W121’12’0.64
WSUAS – Chart in .pdf
Aviation Safety Reporting System AKA “NASA Safety Reports”. If you are not familiar with these please read about them and use if appropriate. It is in your best interest.
Report an Aircraft Accident to the NTSB
FAA Wings Program A new (2020) video that describes the program and its benefits. The Wings program is easy to do and can help you be a safer pilot. If you don’t get it then ask me about the program. Participation is highly recommended. Another benefit is, should a pilot have a mishap or deviation, the FAA will likely look more favorably on a pilot who participates in the Wings program as this demonstrates a safety mindset.