Aug. 15, 2016
This week’s NBAA Flight Plan podcast about presidential TFRs.
As the presidential race comes down to a November finish, NBAA has made it easier to find information members need on election-related temporary flight restrictions (TFRs).
“The entire page has been streamlined,” said Dean Snell, from of NBAA Air Traffic Services (ATS). “The information we present comes directly from FAA security, and we think it gives our members a much clearer and concise picture of the situation.”
Included in the revamped presentation are new graphical representations of TFRs, including key airports affected. The FAA Graphic TFR Page overlays the restricted areas on VFR sectional charts, which Snell said are often hard to read because the information they contain is so dense.
Using Jeppesen’s Flite Star software, the graphics presented on the NBAA website show airports with runways of 3,000 feet or longer, land masses, bodies of water and the defined rings associated with that specific TFR. The NBAA graphic also includes key navigational aids and radio frequencies for airports.
Snell said neither presidential candidate has requested TFR protection for their campaign events, nor has the United States Secret Service directed that such protection be put in place, although he expects airspace restrictions will be issued for each of the presidential debates:
- Sept. 26: Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY
- Oct. 9: Washington University, St. Louis, MO
- Oct. 19: University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV
In addition, the vice presidential candidates will debate Oct. 4 at Longwood University in Farmville, VA.
“While we don’t expect blanket TFRs to be issued for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, we are getting indications that both President Obama and Vice President Biden will campaign extensively between now and Election Day on Nov. 8,” said Snell. Those events will trigger TFR NOTAMs, which are generally issued 72 hours ahead of time.
Operators should make note that Election Day is the week after the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE) in Orlando, FL. With Florida being a battle-ground state, it is possible to see presidential TFRs during the week of the convention, which runs Nov. 1 to 3. NBAA will work with the FAA to minimize any impact, Snell said.
Presidential TFRs typically consist of an outer ring (typically 30 nautical miles in diameter) and an inner ring (usually 10 to 12 nautical miles across). General aviation aircraft are allowed to travel within the outer ring, provided the operator has filed an IFR flight plan and is in communication with air traffic control. However, GA aircraft are prohibited from operating inside the inner ring in most cases.
Vice presidential TFRs are smaller and usually consist of a single 3-nautical-mile ring.
At times, although an airport is clearly outside the inner ring of a presidential or special event TFR, the approach or departure paths traverse the airspace within the inner ring therefore shutting down access to that airport, noted Snell. When this occurs, ATS will request if an alternate approach or departure routing is available, and will note these possible impacts on the TFR impact statement.
ATS works directly with the FAA in trying to maintain as much access to area airports as possible during TFR events. When possible, ATS will submit a request to allow a cut-out around a high volume business aviation airport to allow access to that particular airport. Common cut-outs are Teterboro Airport (TEB) in New Jersey and Van Nuys Airport (VNY) in Southern California.