Obama Family Vacation Prompts Two-Week Long Flight Restriction For Martha’s Vineyard

Scott Greer Contributor
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The Obama family’s annual August trip to Martha’s Vineyard is putting a draconian damper on the ritzy Massachusetts island’s jet-setting residents’ summer travel plans.

For over two weeks — from Aug. 9 to Aug. 24 — the airspace surrounding the island will be off limits to certain aircraft.

Residents and visitors who use PlaneSense Inc., a plane-sharing company that operates in Martha’s Vineyard, received the following warning on Friday:

The [Temporary Flight Restriction] TFR will involve the following, which we MUST abide by:

          Start: Saturday, August 9, 2014              End: Sunday, August 24, 2014

Arrivals into Martha’s Vineyard

· All flights must be booked and obtain Transportation Security Administration (TSA) clearance at least 24 hours in advance. In addition, flights must be security screened by the TSA at one of the following airports PRIOR to arrival at Martha’s Vineyard, between the hours of 6:00am and 8:00pm:

§ HYA –Barnstable Airport, Hyannis, MA

§ PVD –TF Greene State Airport, Providence, RI

§ HPN –Westchester County Airport, White Plains, NY

     TSA will be screening all aircraft, passengers and their luggage. The process will be similar to the screening that you receive when flying via commercial airline. The process may take between 45 – 60 minutes.

· In order to obtain the clearance, we MUST have each passengers full legal name and their gender. All Passengers must provide a valid government issued photo identification to the TSA during the screening process (drivers license, passport, etc.).

Please Note: If a PlaneSense aircraft is departing Martha’s Vineyard after dropping of passengers, the aircraft must go through TSA screening prior to departure. Arrival times may need to be adjusted to coincide with TSA screening hours.

Departures From Martha’s Vineyard

· A TSA clearance will also be required for departures from Martha’s Vineyard. Passengers will also need to go through the TSA screening process at this time, so please plan to arrive early for your departure. Due to the TSA screening process, all departures during these dates must fall within 6:00am and 7:30pm to allow adequate time for TSA Screening.

Please Note: If a PlaneSense aircraft is arriving into Martha’s Vineyard prior to picking up passengers, the aircraft must go through TSA screening at a gateway airport prior to arrival. Departure times may need to be adjusted to coincide with TSA screening hours.

Any changes to the flight itinerary with less than 24 hours notice will not be permitted. All clearances are pending TSA’s approval and are not guaranteed. The length of time to approve the waiver is at the discretion of the TSA, and may not be determined until the day of flight.

According to the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), a temporary flight restriction due to a presidential  visit usually requires airspace to be restricted up to 30 nautical miles, with the inner rings of the protected airspace (usually 10 nautical miles around the area) not allowing general aviation aircraft below 18,000 feet. The rules also ban aircraft from using airports within that sphere without a waiver from the Transportation Security Administration.

The NBAA says that these waivers are rarely given out.

The general aviation designation applies to all civil operation flights that aren’t scheduled airline services or non-scheduled commercial transports, such as cargo planes. The are typically privately owned and operated.

Obama is planning on spending his 16-day vacation at a $12 million estate.

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