It's political campaign season. Do you know where President Bush is?
If you're a pilot, the answer to that question needs to be at the top of your preflight planning list. In just the next seven days alone, the president will be in seven different cities. And from now until election day, you can expect Air Force One to be landing in every corner of the country.
Everywhere he goes, the president takes with him some 9,600 cubic miles of airspace with special access rules and an interior "no-fly" zone.
As some of your fellow pilots on the West Coast recently discovered, if you mistakenly fly into this TFR (temporary flight restriction area), expect to see some U.S. Air Force equipment so close to your wing tip that you can count the rivets, an interview with some stern-looking people carrying firearms and badges, and a letter from the FAA suspending your license.
So how can you avoid these presidential TFRs? AOPA makes it easy for you. You can check the top of this Web site; they're listed in the red bar.
Plan your flight with AOPA's Real-Time Flight Planner. You can see all of the TFRs plotted on a map and "rubber band" your route to go around them.
Sign up for our ePilot special airspace bulletins. We'll send you an e-mail as soon as we know about a TFR in your area.
Most importantly, call flight service just before you take off, and ask for the latest notams. Sometimes presidential and security TFRs can pop up on short notice and may not be displayed on our flight planner.
October 6, 2006