TFR This Weekend Impacts Local EAA Chapter Events
August 16, 2012 - "There goes that fly-in day," commented Drew Gillett, EAA 427708, and member of EAA chapters 106 (Lawrence, Massachusetts) and 225 (Rochester, New Hampshire). Both have fly-in events scheduled for this Saturday, but a temporary flight restriction (TFR) was announced over various portions of southeastern New Hampshire for President Obama's visit to the area that day.
Chapter 106 rescheduled its event at Lawrence Municipal Airport in northeastern Massachusetts, which includes an LSA expo, FAAST seminars for pilots, and Young Eagles flights, to Sunday. Chapter 225 is pressing ahead with plans to hold its "Wings and Wheels" airport event at Skyhaven Airport in Rochester on Saturday with curtailed flying activities. Gillett lamented that the Rochester event has been in the works for more than six months and is intended to attract the non-flying public to the airport and give many children their first ride in a small airplane through the Young Eagles program.
Penny Bowman, EAA 308889, Chapter 106 president, mentioned that there was "not a whole lot of notice" for the TFR, which was published on Wednesday, August 15. The chapter was proactive in moving the expo on Monday at first hearing of the president's visit. It was, however, a very difficult process to reschedule such a large event, with exhibitors needing to adjust their weekend plans and new banners and literature necessary.
Bowman mentioned that several years ago their annual fly-in was impacted by a similar TFR. "It's disappointing that these things interrupt our entire industry," she said.
Despite these hurdles, the chapter is planning a very strong event for Sunday and is looking for ground volunteers and Young Eagles pilots from the area to lend a hand. To learn how you can help, visit the Chapter 106 website.
While the EAA and other industry groups have been fighting diligently on the TFR issue for years, including some success curtailing certain VIP flight restrictions in areas such as the DC SFRA, pilots can unfortunately expect more TFRs as the campaign season heats up. This is particularly true in so-called swing states such as New Hampshire, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, and others.
An aviator's best defense against an accidental violation and mandatory license suspension is to obtain a thorough briefing from Flight Service before every flight. Also make sure you follow the local news in your area for campaign events that may impose flight restrictions.
November is less than three months away, bringing an end to this cycle of political "barnstorming."