President Bush's bus route
Now that Sen. John Kerry is officially the Democratic candidate for President, both he and President Bush will be hitting the airways, highways, and railways with almost nonstop travel to take their messages to the people. And whether the mode is plane, train, or bus, it means more temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) for pilots.
Saturday finds President Bush campaigning by bus from Cleveland to Pittsburgh. Pilots can expect a 30-nm-radius TFR around each of the stops, with a 10-nm radius traveling "no fly" zone over the bus route.
Sen. Kerry and his running mate Sen. John Edwards will be in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio this weekend. "AOPA's best information is that if there any TFRs for Sen. Kerry, they won't be as large as the restricted area for a sitting President," said Melissa Bailey Rudinger, AOPA vice president of regulatory and certification policy. ( Subscribers to AOPA ePilot receive automatic e-mail alerts for Presidential TFRs in their area.)
AOPA's Real-Time Flight Planner and the FAA's Web site both show graphical depictions of TFRs. However, the people who create these graphics usually work Monday through Friday. So if a TFR notam is issued after hours or on a weekend, there is the possibility that there won't be a graphic available.
And as the campaign for President becomes more intense leading toward November, expect that there will be last-minute schedule changes and additions. Pilots in the 17 "battlegound" states (Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Maine, and New Hampshire) are the most likely to run into "pop-up" TFRs.
And that means it's more important than ever to make a call to flight service immediately prior to takeoff for a final notam check.
Update: July 31, 2004