The meat of the letter (attached) is contained in the following paragraph:
Due to the pilot deviation which occurred on November 6, 2010, at the Ames Municipal Airport in Ames, Iowa and pursuant to 14 CRF § 61.51(i)(1)(i) and § 91.417(c), you are requested to present to this office for inspection your pilot logbook, the aircraft logbooks or other records required to be maintained for inspection by the Administrator. Please forward these records to this office within 10 days of receipt of this letter.
What happened was that while flying a Civil Air Patrol (CAP) mission (transportation, not search and rescue) I landed at Ames airport (AMW) while there was an Iowa State football game in progress. The stadium meets the requirements of NOTAM 9/5151, and the airport is within 3nm of the stadium. Ames is an uncontrolled airport that is serviced by the Des Moines TRACON, located approximately 30nm to the south. The stadium is to the NW of the field, and I was arriving from the east. Earlier in the day I had flown IFR from SW Iowa to Dubuque (DBQ), but my return route was to be via two VFR legs, with the stop being at AMW.
Having received a full DUATS briefing prior to my flight up to DBQ just a couple of hours earlier, I did only an abbreviated self-briefing for my VFR flight from DBQ to AMW. During this briefing I verified what I knew to be a beautiful day across Iowa and checked for restrictions along my route of flight via the FAA’s TFR website. I also checked the NOTAMs at both DBQ and AMW. I did not call for a FSS briefing (1st MISTAKE), not that it would have prevented my entering the TFR in this case, since “stadium TFRs” are not routinely available to anyone other than the local TRACON. Also, not being a football fan, and not intimately familiar with the Ames area, I did not think to check atypical flight-planning sources for game-day information (2nd MISTAKE).
So, we launched out of Dubuque, VFR, with no intention of even getting flight-following (3rd MISTAKE). I did not have a formal VFR flight plan filed/opened, but remember that a VFR flight plan does not require contact with ATC. What I did have was a CAP mission/route and a formal release. This formal release includes a phone conversation with a flight release officer just prior to engine start. Not exactly the same as a VFR flight plan, but someone did know when to expect us at Ames - the same group that would likely be sent to look for us if we went missing.
Prior to arriving at AMW we monitored their ASOS and self-announced our position a couple times, beginning about 10nm east of the field. After landing and parking the FBO staff informed me of the current TFR and to give Des Moines a call. I instantly realized what had happened, and was very humble when talking with Jason from the Des Moines TRACON. He said that he had to pass my information onto the local FSDO, as well as letting me know that I could still fly out of the TFR by getting in touch with them while on the ground to receive a transponder code and departure instructions. I did double-check for flight restrictions for my last leg of the day, and made sure to carry flight-following. When checking for flight restrictions again online, and by then calling WX-BRIEF, I was told, in no uncertain terms, that there were no active TFRs along my route of flight, to include my departure airport (AMW). But, as a number of you already know, and I now know, I shouldn’t expect to be told of NOTAM 9/5151 airspace restrictions.
Also attached to this posting is the Aviation Safety Reporting System report that I submitted the next day, so I have that going for me. Also, I will maintain my humble and positive attitude throughout this entire process. As for complying with the FSDO’s direction, I’m going to have to call them and ask about sending in aircraft records that aren’t mine to send in. They/I will have to work with CAP to provide them if absolutely necessary.
I’ll try to keep this thread updated on how things progress. Being that I’m slowly working towards my CFI certificate, this will end up being a very good lesson learned for both me and my future students. I’m going to treat it as a learning opportunity, and I hope that is what it might prove to be to the people reading this, as well.