Please stay home, Mr. President

Our dear leader, President Obama, is coming to the Bay Area on Monday. (Why he’s coming is unclear to me; it’s not as though Romney has any chance of winning California, so I presume it’s so Obama can raise money from his legions of wealthy fans out here.)

Anyway, the point of this post is to point out what happens when he’s here. The picture below will help illustrate my complaint.


See those red rings? During his visit, most private aircraft are essentially not allowed to fly within those rings; flight training (and cropdusting, and animal control, and a long list of other operations) are specifically prohibited, and there are other restrictions. Commercial passenger and cargo flights are exempt, luckily (otherwise AA passengers departing SFO Monday would be in even more trouble, hey ho!)

The largest ring is a 35-nautical-mile radius centered around the San Francisco (SFO) VOR. That takes in the Palo Alto, San Jose, Oakland, and San Carlos airports. So from 1pm Monday until 10am Tuesday,  the dozens of instructors and hundreds of students training at those airports are grounded. That means an immediate loss of several thousand dollars per instructor– and the losses are greater for flight schools themselves.

More to the point, this is just a further delay in my pursuit of my license, as I can’t fly during that time unless I am actively, y’know, going somewhere.

Oh, and the best part: the geographic and time restrictions of this temporary flight restriction can change at any time. So I could, in theory, inadvertently and innocently violate it if it changes while I am in flight. This is rare and unlikely, thank goodness.

So thank you, Mr. President. I’m glad you’re doing your part to help the economy. See also previous helpful contributions here and here. (substitute “Bush”, “Romney,” or the name of your favorite post-9/11 president above if it makes you feel better, although President Obama has been a worse offender in this respect than was President Bush.)

1 Comment

Filed under aviation, FAIL

One response to “Please stay home, Mr. President

  1. Tumbler

    Interesting point to this. Private pilots can file a VFR flight plan to transition the airspace. They are not fully grounded, simply made to be on an active squawk code and be in communication with ATC.

    Yes, training is suspended in the area, however you can fly out of the area with the instructor as PIC and you as a passenger and train outside of the airspace in a suitable region. Working with TFR’s is a great learning experience. You’ll also find that during TFR’s the sky’s are remarkably quiet and airports very easy to get into because of that. No #3 for landing, or watching and listening to 5 others approach an airport from all angles, each one with a different opinion on how best to enter a 45 to left downwind, or skip it and try to squeeze in a straight in approach.

    Lastly, I think if you substitute, Bush, Clinton, etc, you’ll find the TFR’s move to different regions around the country with similar frequency. However, the FAA has increased the enforcement of these areas since 911. I wouldn’t say its the fault of the traveling president in office – more on the climate and travel locals of that president. Being in Chicago, I have TFR restrictions often – luckily, I was trained to handle TFR’s.

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