VFR Waypoints & Challenge 7 (a life hangs in the balance)

Most all of the iPilot readers who responded to Challenge 6 knew what VFR Waypoints are (apparently, so does my GPS), perhaps it’s time for more important questions.

VFR Waypoint names consist of five letters beginning with “VP.” Stand-alone VFR Waypoints are portrayed on VFR Charts using the same four-point star symbol currently used for IFR Waypoints. (The four-point star symbol is called an Astroid).

Figure 1, VPBEC, is a stand alone VFR Waypoint. VFR Waypoints collocated with Visual Check Points are portrayed with a check point flag. The VFR Waypoint name is shown in parentheses adjacent to the Visual CheckPoint name as shown in Figure 2.

VFR Waypoint names are not intended to be pronounceable and should not be used in ATC Communications. A listing of all VFR Waypoints are listed in the AF/D with their “VP” identifiers, collocated Visual Check Points (if any), and location by latitude & longitude.

I teach a college course to pilots who want to become flight instructors. I recently asked them this hypothetical question. (The question is hypothetical, but the events that took place after Hurricane Floyd are all true.)

After Hurricane Floyd passed over Eastern North Carolina, heavy rains caused the Tar River to flood. The rising waters completely surrounded the town of Tarboro. The only way into or out of the town was by boat or by airplane to the Tarboro-Edgecomb Airport (top center of Figure 3).

The floodwaters surrounded and cut off the town for more than a week. During that time clean water, food, and medical supplies were flown in to save the people of Tarboro. The air traffic in and out became so heavy that the FAA set up a temporary control tower in a hangar at the Tarboro-Edgecomb Airport (ETC) during daylight hours.

Given: You are a pilot who lives in Goldsboro, North Carolina. You have a cousin who lives in Tarboro during the time of the flood. You get an emergency telephone call, at 9:00 am, telling you that your cousin has been seriously injured while helping evacuate flood victims and needs a doctor and a blood transfusion. The problem is that your cousin has a rare blood type and you are the only known match! You could go to the Goldsboro-Wayne Airport (lower left of the chart) where your VFR-ONLY airplane is parked, and fly off to save your cousin. You would first have to fly to Kinston, North Carolina (lower center of the chart) to pick up the doctor and supplies. Then you would fly on to Tarboro so that you can make the blood donation and save your cousin’s life. There are other considerations…

  1. It is still raining. Light rain and fog has reduced visibility to 2 miles across the entire area of the chart with cloud ceilings at 1,500 feet.
  2. All chart features are correct as shown and all control towers, VORs, Restricted Areas, MOAs, and weather observers that might be shown on the chart are open and operating.
  3. This trip could be made in a fast boat, but your cousin is in bad shape and may not survive if you do not get there as soon as possible. So you must make a decision…

QUESTION: Is it possible to legally make this flight? If it is possible, describe in detail exactly how you will do it and then prepare for takeoff. If it is not legally possible, explain in detail why it is not legal and start looking for that boat. Note: The question is not asking about your pilot judgement. You might not think this flight is a good idea — but I’m not asking what you think; I’m asking is it legal.