LAKE OF THE OZARKS, Mo. — With the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout less than two weeks away, the Shootout Air Show Director has informed LakeExpo.com the air show will be happening.

The Shootout is the Lake of the Ozarks' largest and longest-running boat race, celebrating 31 years in 2019. The unsanctioned race draws nearly 100 racers from across the continent with everything from PWCs to pontoons to mega-powered catamarans to test their speed in a 3/4-mile, one-at-a-time, drag-race-style event. The Shootout also draws an estimated 100,000 people who gather on land and in a miles-long, multi-tier flotilla that stretches along the race course. Those fans enjoy the sights and sounds of the Shootout, as well as an excuse to come to Lake of the Ozarks for the weekend, as the summer boating season draws to a close. One of the most popular parts of the Shootout is the air show. Crowds ooh and ah as the trick plane flown in recent years by aerial acrobat Brian Correll wows them with low-water flybys, flips, spirals, spins, and even drag races with some of the Shootout's fastest boats.

But the show was threatened by the presence of at least one photography drone in the air during the 2018 boat race. Correll, alerted to the drone's presence, veered off his planned air show course, mid-show, and did not return to finish the show until the drone had cleared the airspace.

That drone was in violation of a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) that had been issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the air show, according to the Air Show Director. This year, when the Air Show Director submitted a request for a TFR to the FAA, the request was denied. In the denial letter, the FAA cited a hotline complaint filed after last year's Shootout, which alleged the TFR had been inappropriate, and said there had been no air show, but rather a five-minute flyby. (In reality, the air show typically lasts between 10-15 minutes.) Read more about the drone interference and the threat to this year's air show:

While there is technically no requirement that there be a TFR for the air show to take place, the Air Show Director refused to coordinate the event unless one was issued. "I’m very hesitant to put a pilot in the air based on the history of aerial interruptions," he told LakeExpo.com.

He continued corresponding with the FAA, presenting evidence for the existence of the air show, asking the agency to reconsider its decision and issue the TFR. Meanwhile, as news of the threat to this year's air show spread, the Shootout community—from organizers to fans—fretted over the possible loss of the popular show. Then, on Aug. 4, the Air Show Director announced the FAA had reversed their decision, and issued a TFR from 1:40 – 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 24–25.

As a result, the Air Show Director says the air show is a go. 

However, he emphasized if a drone is seen operating during that time, the airshow will be cancelled and the pilot will be instructed to return to the airport. "Safety comes first," he said, adding that FAA safety inspectors are expected to be on-site during the airshow to monitor and identify unauthorized aircraft and illegal drone operators.

Drone operators are also not allowed to operate a drone within five miles of an airport except in specifically allowed areas or with permission from the FAA, per Federal Aviation Regulations. Mistwood Airport is less than three miles from the center of the Shootout, which means any drone operators at the Shootout who want to fly their drone at times outside of the TFR would need to get FAA permission. Here's more info from the FAA about general rules for recreational drone fliers.

Shootout TFR Parameters

The Shootout TFR airspace and boundary is a three-nautical-mile radius from the center of the race course and extends upwards from the surface to 5,000 feet.

The effective times of the TFR and the airshow is from 1:40-2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 24–25.

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