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Presidential debate closes Florida GA airportsPresidential debate closes Florida GA airports

Presidential debate closes Florida GA airports

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Thursday night's debate between President George Bush and Senator John Kerry means two major Florida general aviation airports will be off-limits to GA pilots from 5:50 p.m. Wednesday through 9 a.m. Friday.

Kendall-Tamiami Executive (TMB) and Opa Locka (OPF), along with Miami International (MIA), fall within a larger than usual 12-nm-radius no-fly zone that's part of the temporary flight restriction for Bush's Florida visit.

"Normally the no-fly zone is 10 nautical miles in radius," said Melissa Bailey Rudinger, AOPA vice president of regulatory policy. "TMB is 11.9 miles from the center of the no-fly zone, OPF is 10.2 miles. We talked to the FAA about 'cut-outs' to allow GA aircraft to arrive and depart from these two airports, but security officials remained firm that they didn't want GA flights out of these airports while the President is in Coral Gables."

The Coral Gables TFR is in addition to TFRs issued or expected for Daytona Beach, Lakeland, Sebastian, and Melbourne on Wednesday; Stuart on Thursday; and Fort Myers and St. Petersburg on Friday.

AOPA will post the notams that establish the TFRs as soon as possible after they are issued. AOPA's Real-Time Flight Planner provides graphic depictions of the TFR locations.

Because TFR airspace frequently changes, AOPA strongly encourages pilots to obtain a briefing and check notams immediately prior to every flight. The federal security agencies take TFR violations very seriously; pilots entering a TFR will be intercepted and forced to land.

September 29, 2004

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