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Security TFRs should do no local harmSecurity TFRs should do no local harm

Editor's note: This article was updated July 12 with the FAA's release of the TFR dates for Bedminster, New Jersey.

Six members of Congress whose constituents’ businesses stand to suffer losses when temporary flight restrictions are imposed for presidential visits to Bedminster, New Jersey, have called on security officials to work with the aviation community to lessen the economic impact of President Donald Trump’s weekend trips to the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster.

 

A Trump helicopter arrives to pick up Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump as Trump National Golf Club previews the US Women's Open Golf tournament in Bedminster, New Jersey. Photo courtesy of John Munson, NJ Advance Media.

In a letter to U.S. Secret Service Director Randolph D. Alles, the bipartisan group of representatives detailed the hardship that security measures, including a few multi-day airport shutdowns, inflict on area general aviation businesses that normally produce a combined annual $2.8 billion in economic output.

Temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) hit hardest during the area’s summer flying season, they wrote.

With the fourth TFR of 2017 in Bedminster scheduled to be in effect July 14 to 16, the officials called for security agencies and the FAA to work with aviation stakeholders to implement “enhanced ingress/egress procedures like the Maryland Three (MD-3) Program in place near Washington, D.C., which allows properly vetted private pilots to fly to and from airports located in a security-sensitive area.”

Golfers putt during a practice round at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, as it prepares to host the 2017 Women's U.S. Open. Photo courtesy of Andrew Mills, NJ Advance Media.

When Bedminster’s airspace goes under a TFR, operations at approximately 20 public-use GA airports come under restrictions, with two privately owned, public-use fields within the 10-nautical-mile inner area—Somerset Airport and Solberg-Hunterdon Airport—shut down entirely.

“Andover Flight Academy, a small business, is unable to provide weekend classes that have kept them in business since 1987. Skydive Jersey and Vansant Airport are also among the many small businesses that have been negatively affected,” they wrote.

The streamlined security measures for the Maryland Three airports—College Park Airport, Potomac Airfield, and Washington Executive/Hyde Field—authorize the Transportation Security Administration to issue personal identification numbers to pilots who may use the airports under prescribed operating rules after undergoing background checks.

A high priority for AOPA’s advocacy efforts is working to reduce the economic impact of security TFRs through cooperative efforts to provide necessary security without imposing a major financial burden on small aviation businesses.

AOPA always strongly recommends that pilots check notices to airmen carefully for effective times, vertical and lateral dimensions of TFRs, and that they update the notam information frequently for changes that can take effect on extremely short notice.

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz

Associate Editor Web
Associate Editor Web Dan Namowitz has been writing for AOPA in a variety of capacities since 1991. He has been a flight instructor since 1990 and is a 30-year AOPA member.
Topics: Airport Advocacy, Security, Temporary Flight Restriction

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