Are you an aviation enthusiast or pilot? Sign up for our newsletter, full of tips, reviews and more!
General Aviation airports and businesses, in New Jersey and Florida, are being shut down during recurring Presidential Temporary Flight Restrictions (PTFRs) imposed when the President spends his weekends in Bedminster or West Palm Beach. Three airports are completely closed under the 10 nm no-fly zone and in the outer ring (30 nm) flight instruction, sky diving, ballooning, soaring along with drone operations and more are forbidden. The two airports in New Jersey, Somerset & Solberg Airports, are family run businesses in existence since the mid 1940’s. Lantana Airport, with formerly thriving flight instruction businesses, is crushed during the beautiful Florida winters. The New Jersey airports were closed during the peak flying season: 40 days in 2017 and 28 so far in 2018. In addition, General Aviation flights arriving into the New York airspace during the summer months are delayed and rerouted up to 500 nm as the JAIKE3 arrival is closed over the Solberg VOR.
General Aviation pilots are screened by TSA prior to even starting flight training; they have not been a threat to National Security. GA is being singled out when it comes to restriction of activity: the highway bordering Trump National sees 75,000 + vehicles per day, the intercoastal waterway next to Mar-a-Lago is not shut down, none of these operators are screened. The security (military fighters, helicopters and ground-based deterrents) that comes to town during a Presidential visit is intimidation enough. While the size and scope of PTFRs need to be revisited, it encompasses more than 8,400 cubic nautical miles, the first step in relief is to get these airports open.
Fortunately, the solution already exists. Through hard work on the part of the airport owners and operators located within the flight restricted zone around Washington, a system was created for the three Maryland (MD-3) airports. Pilots are screened much like Global Entry requirements, then they get a pin to operate in and out.
So how can you help your fellow pilots get back in the air? Please go to RPTFR Petition and sign the petition, then call/email/text and tweet your elected officials encouraging them to get behind the MD-3 screening process for recurring PTFRs. More questions? Check out njaviation.com the home of the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Coalition and follow us on Facebook.