President Bush is slated to visit Southern and Central California Thursday and Friday. That will bring with it large presidential-movement temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) that will close some airports and restrict your flying. Presidential TFRs are typically 60 nm in diameter, impacting the airspace above some 3,000 square miles of land.
AOPA will post the notams establishing the TFRs as soon as they become available. However, the federal government seems to be dragging its feet on issuing the notams.
Despite the fact that the press has known for weeks that Bush will visit the Los Angeles Basin and Central California, the federal government is unwilling or unable to provide timely notice of the TFRs that would allow general aviation pilots to rework their flight plans to avoid the large areas of restricted airspace that follow the President.
"Southern California is one of the most active general aviation pilot communities in the country, and the anticipated proliferation of 30-mile-radius TFRs will have a huge impact, yet the notice is still undergoing review at the FAA at 5 p.m. in Washington. The agency cannot give us details as to where (or even when) the airspace restrictions might go into effect," said AOPA President Phil Boyer.
"This is ridiculous. AOPA has been pressing federal officials for weeks to provide better advance notification of presidential-movement TFRs, but the problem is getting worse, not better!
"It's bad enough that the TFRs are unreasonably large. The government has a responsibility to at least give pilots a reasonable advance warning," Boyer said.
"I urge you to write to President Bush and tell him about the impact his visit has on you and your flying. Please send a copy to AOPA. Realistically, we know the President won't see these letters, but if enough of them hit the White House staff, they may very well realize they have a political problem on their hands."
Letters or faxes are generally more effective than e-mails.
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
In addition, AOPA is collecting pilot reports of operational difficulties involving presidential TFRs. To submit a report, simply fill out the form on AOPA Online.
Because TFR airspace frequently changes, AOPA strongly encourages pilots to obtain a briefing and check notams before every flight. Violators will be intercepted and forced to land.