May 14, 2003
As President Bush ramps up for his reelection campaign and continues to stump for his tax-cut proposal, those responsible for his security have apparently decided that general aviation is too great a threat to allow anywhere near him.
The temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) that are created whenever the President travels outside Washington, D.C., state that "military, law enforcement, emergency medical aircraft, regularly scheduled commercial passenger and cargo aircraft (emphasis added) may operate within the area...." That wording deliberately precludes Part 91 and most Part 135 (air taxi and on-demand air carriers) from operation within the restricted zone.
"Always in the past, talking to air traffic control and transmitting an ATC-assigned discrete transponder code was enough to gain admission for GA aircraft," said AOPA President Boyer. "So what has changed? Is there a specific and credible threat? If so, tell us. Pilots understand national security concerns and will play by the rules. But if not, give us back access to our skies."
While AOPA plans to continue to fight for more reasonable language in presidential movement TFR notams, pilots need to be aware that the President plans to travel almost every day in support of his tax proposal.
If you're planning to fly, you would be well advised to pay attention to the news, and if the President is going to be anywhere near your proposed flight path, ask specifically about temporary flight restrictions in that area.
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