Flying on the 4th of July


New Member
I was planning on checking out the fireworks on Fourth of July from the air next week, and was wondering if you guys had any tips.
How high do they normally shoot them, and what would be a safe altitude to fly at?
Anyone in SoCal know of any good areas to check them out?
Thanks a Lot!!
I don't know about the minimum safe altitude(s) but a good area to roam is right on the shoreline around Santa Monica. You will be able to see numerous fireworks shows in close proximity. The shows that come to mind are Redondo Beach, Marina Del Rey, Dodger stadium, the Rose Bowl, Hollwood Bowl, and if visibility is clear enough you may even catch Disneyland's show.
I've been seeing fireworks at night for the past week or so. They don't go as high as they appear to from the ground. I think that if you go to 4-5000 feet and keep lateral separation, you should be fine.
Look very closely at TFR's I would call your local FSS and make sure and as a minimum review the following:

§ 91.111 Operating near other aircraft.

(a) No person may operate an aircraft so close to another aircraft as to create a collision hazard.

§ 91.119 Minimum safe altitudes: General.

Except when necessary for takeoff or landing, no person may operate an aircraft below the following altitudes:

(a) Anywhere. An altitude allowing, if a power unit fails, an emergency landing without undue hazard to persons or property on the surface.

(b) Over congested areas. Over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons, an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft.

Good luck
They have some pretty nice fireworks in La Verne... i've watched fireworks at Las Flores Park since I was a kid.
Fireworks (the bigguns) generally detonate between 500 and 1000 ft. agl.... like dave said - not as high as it looks.

Last year, I did a night flight on the 5th of July and, flying over rural Florida, I was a tad concerned that Bubba and Billy Ray would decide to play war on the Cessna.

However, the fireworks we saw going off (and there were a lot) were detonating just above tree level to - the highest we saw - about 500 ft.

Granted - none of those were the "big stuff" used for organized shows, but my instructor said that even the organized shows' fireworks detonate around 1000 ft.

I'd recommend anything from 2000 and up for safe and good viewing.

Of course, if you live in Florida, chances are that it's going to rain on the 4th... so....


...I was a tad concerned that Bubba and Billy Ray would decide to play war on the Cessna.

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You talkin' bout my daddy and them, boy??