Wright Brothers National Memorial,
Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina
White House plans for President Bush to take part in the Centennial of Flight celebration will close the two airports closest to the Wright Brothers National Memorial and First Flight Airfield (FFA). Updated notams published late Tuesday morning moved the effective start times nearly two hours earlier, to 7 a.m. local.
"This has got to be the bitterest irony—that America will celebrate a century of powered flight by grounding aircraft at the birthplace of powered flight," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Certainly the President deserves protection when he travels. But because his security personnel continue to insist on demanding oversized TFRs, the inheritors of the Wright brothers' legacy—America's pilots—are being penalized."
AOPA, expecting for sometime these TFRs would be issued, was pleased to learn that ceremony-related flights have been coordinated with the FAA, so that the attempted flight by the Wright Flyer replica and other flybys would not be grounded.
"If security officials had allowed the FAA to issue 3- or even 5-nm-radius presidential-movement TFRs like they used to, Dare County Airport (MQI), the GA airport of choice, would still be an option," said Boyer. "Instead, pilots who had hoped to fly in for the day to help celebrate now face an overland journey of more than 50 miles."
The FAA has issued a 25-nm-radius temporary flight restriction (TFR) centered on First Flight Airfield from 0700-1200 local on December 17. The 0-10 nm ring is a no-fly zone. From 10-25 nm, as has become usual with presidential-movement TFRs, pilots must be on an active VFR or IFR flight plan, have a discrete ATC-assigned transponder code, and be in radio communication with ATC. A second TFR 15 nm in radius has been issued for the President's arrival at (0700-0930 local) and departure from (1050-1200 local) Elizabeth City Regional Airport (ECG) in Elizabeth City.
The closest airport outside the TFRs is Hyde County (7W6) near the town of Engelhard, which is under the Pamlico B Military Operations Area (MOA) and is surrounded by numerous other MOAs and restricted areas. Hyde County is a public-use airport but, according to AOPA's Airport Directory Online, has no FBO. It is approximately 60 miles by road from the Wright Brothers Memorial.
The next closest is Northeastern Regional Airport (EDE) in Edenton. The town of Edenton is the FBO and, according to the AOPA Online Directory, has both self-serve 100LL avgas and jet pre-mix available 24 hours a day. EDE is more than 80 miles from the memorial.