Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

July 21, 2009

Flight Restriction Debate Making Comeback?

Filed under: Aviation Security — by Jessica Herrera-Flanigan on July 21, 2009

I read with interest this morning a little-noticed article in the Martha’s Vineyard Gazette entitled “Obama Air Space Curbs Worry Pilots.”  The story notes the increasing angst among the general aviation (GA) community, as well as in the recreational aviation business, in Martha’s Vineyard of the expected Presidential family vacation to the island.

The GA community expects that the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) will issue a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) to increase security during the family’s visit. TFRs, for those not familiar, “defines an area restricted to air travel due to a hazardous condition, a special event, or a general warning for the entire FAA airspace.” The FAA sends out detailed information on a TFR through a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM).  Given the necessary security precautions taken to protect to the President and other VIPS, notice often comes a couple of days, at most, before enforcement.

Following 9/11, the focus on TFRs among the GA community increased significantly as their use significantly.  The increases use of TFRs occurred for a variety of reasons, including increased concern over the security of certain high-risk locations (i.e. New York and D.C.), regulations that allowed for TFRs to be put in place for major sports events and air shows, and an increase in natural disasters such as wildfires that required restrictions for public safety reasons.  (Note: In addition to TFRs, there are certain Air Defense Identification Zones (ADIZs) that provide a more permanent no-fly zone around cities and areas such as D.C.  As those of us who live in Washington know, there have been several scares requiring evacuted government buildings and dispatched fighter jets resulting from air violations.)

As TFRS increased, there were rumblings among some in the GA community that TFRs and ADIZs shoul be scaled back, especially as more unknowing pilots found themselves facing criminal charges or other enforcement action for violating the restricted air space.  Those rumblings, however, seem to have calmed down some in the last couple of years as the restrictions became more of the norm and groups like the Aircraft Oowners and Pilots Association (AOPA) increased efforts to educate and provide instructions to the GA community about FAA TFR NOTAMs.

Getting back to the Gazette story, I wonder if we will see a renewal to revisit the TFR/ADIZ debate in a more comprehensive manner.  The story notes that any TFR restrictions on Martha’s Vineyard could have a devastating economic effect on some of the small businesses operating tour and aviation services onto the island.  In particular, the article profiled the owner of a biplane tour business, finding that he could lose more than an 1/8 of his business if a TFR was placed into effect during the Presidential visit.  The article also noted that during the summer, approximately 70% of traffic into the island’s airport is from GA aircraft.

Whether this TFR issue will simply fly away is still to be seen. The difference from past arguments on the issue is an increased focus on the economic impact, especially on small businesses, caused by the security restriction.  Given the state of the economy, will we see an economy versus security debate emerge?

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Comment by William R. Cumming

July 21, 2009 @ 9:22 am

He has Camp David! He has the National Parks! Why Martha’s Vineyard? Perhaps take a page from FDR and Truman and just climb aboard a NAVY ship for a while! Does this guy get it? Hey I voted for him!

Pingback by Obama Watch: Gazette is Fave Fodder for Washington Wonks

July 21, 2009 @ 11:07 am

[…] Vineyard Gazette caught the attention of the Washington homeland security wonks at blog hlswatch.com. Writes Jessica […]

Comment by Jeff

July 21, 2009 @ 11:37 am

You may see the debate emerge and then quickly die out. Unfortunately the GA community has been fighting this fight for some time without substantial progress. Part of the problem as you know is the lack of accountability at the agency level. Just last week in a House Homeland hearing on GA security TSA answered several questions on who controls the air space by either fingering the FAA or a ‘group of agencies’. While this is true it allows the government to pass the buck and creates an unsolvable puzzle for the GA community. The easy solution for the government is to restrict flights instead of managing the risk. This senario is unlikely to change until a powerful champion in DC forces a change or the constant campaign by the GA community chips away at the unreasonable parts of the TFRs. Thanks for highlighting the issue.

Comment by christopher tingus

July 22, 2009 @ 10:45 am

As a Cape Cod resident an aspiring small plane recreational flyer myself with the Chatham airport nearby and Martha’s Vineyard not too distant, we do rely on tourists coming to see our sand dunes and ol’ quaint Cape Cod and the GA community certainly is very busy this time of year.

To the business owners, while the island is very busy anyways, a Presidential retreat draws big crowds and businesses are very busy during these vacation days when the Clintons and now the new President and family are visiting…

While there is a great deal of inconvenience, there is also much business activity. It is overwelming at times….

If any businesses such as this gentleman with a biplane tour business who will suffer because of air restrictions – which should certainly be implemented as well as the utmost vigilence by our esteemed US Coast Guard – my advice is to get to the President’s ear and explain such and I am confident that the Presidential staff along with Barney Frank who is well known for finding ways to spend tax dollars can initiate a small stiumlus package for the islanders proving their losses as a result of a Presidential visit…

While I am not a supporter of you Mr. President, nor of Barney Frank because of obvious reasons as your mentality to raise taxes and fees in parallel with the Massachusetts State legislators who must drink the politiczed water at the State House and its composition not only makes every Governor of Massachusetts believe he should be the next President, but that sales tax increases and gas tax increases and tax overrides are in the best interest of the descendents of the Boston Tea Party, yeah, right…

Anyways, from my many years residing on Cape Cod, most of the islanders and visitors of Martha’s Vineyard are avid supporters of you Mr. President and as guests, pls lend an ear to this business owner and any few others who believe that there business is negatively affected…For the overwhelming majority on the island, you Mr. President will be very much welcomed as well as the First Lady and my suggestion is to take advantage of your diversified and well educated supporters and hold a Town Meeting to discuss your Healthcare initiative which will inevitably hammer in the last nails to this great Nation’s coffin…

Our astute and courageous forefathers as well as the immigrants that came and adhered to the process of becoming legal citizens and even then, never wanting to take from the system, but only to contribute which they did with great pride and acumen, fled oppression of government, the King’s taxes and fees and while the timid revolution of sending a tea bag in an envelope to Congress and to Paulson et al is a rather unimpressive effort to the good ‘ol beltway boys who are indifferent to our – Mr. & Mrs. Citizen Joe’s concerns – very much like the “Brutes of Tehran” as I refer to the leadership who chooses to spill precious Persian blood on the streets of Tehran (see Nada).

Our F-22’s are necessary. Our Navy vessels are in need of modernization. Our Army must be equipped with the latest technology. To get a local fire station reopened which had been closed because of politiczing, I had to show strength by standing in snow, ice, rain and lightning to muster the community to see clearly the need and the agenda of the local pols. Do we not see clearly the German led EU with its fast deployment forces, its shiny new Naval vessels already crusing the Meditarranean portraying its new found strength supported by the Vatican to become the new Middle East power broker…To the “Brutes of Tehran” it is not this great Republic where those pledging their commitment to public service have forgotten that they are the servant, not the master as we the people hold the reigns which are being whipped from our palms and to you in Tehran, look only to Germany for it is your nemesis.

Overnight is seems, we are a nation which is becoming impoverished by the very same we have “entrusted” with vote….

It is not my neighbor and his business loss as a result of the Presidential visitation which disturbs us here on Main Street USA for this fella probably voted for – change – and now he will find like so many others that whatever change we had left from the Bush fellas, the Barney Frank-Nanci Pelosi mentality of knowing better that us will leave our pockets empty as we see soup lines resurrected on the streets of Main Street USA as a result of this arrogant, self-agenda….

Welcome Mr. President to Cape Cod! Keep pushing your healthcare plan and taking from thw wealthy who for the most part have been creative, offered employment to those seeking it…

Has one ever tried to get a position with Homeland Security or Fema or any other government position these days…the time from application to interview to the first day on the job is absurd….

Let me assure you that having to wait a year to get employed leaves those with valued skill sets seeking to make contribution to the people are seen scratching their heads as they are quickly recruited by those wealthy and contributing private industry fellas….

I see the Chinese hiring 128,000 of the brightest scientists and engineers from the many graduating the more difficult disciplines because education is such a priority and BYD is not only making batteries for cars, but craeting new technological innovations by an inspired and very proud family and future oriented people. yes, there is very much wrong with their system, however with proposed gun legislation making any and every effort to take away Second Amendment Rights and a Healthcare package which cannot be discussed as to its merits, but like the stimulus plan, “rushed” through vote…

Mr. President, tell us how much of the stiumlus package rushed through Congress has reached the people. Where is that initial $750 billion seeming unaccounted for…Transparency at its best?

Welcome to Martha’s Vineyard. We are very proud of it and I suggest you look to the East and envision the crowded conditions of immigrants from every corner of the earth fleeing to the New World. We, their second, third, and fourth generation wonders where it can flee to for it seems the Bibles words are again resounding…No government in any form created by man since Babylon has survived.

Even those who voted for you are now becoming enlightened as to your failure to account for the tenacity of us – aka Mr. & Mrs. Citizen Joe – for we are not only worried about the “KGB Putinites” as I refer to them and Russia’s resurgence and intentional blackmail of the EU pertaining to “energy requirements to revive the German manufacturing precision seeking world dominance” – but our neighbors in Michigan sleeping in tents and so on and so forth as unemployment numbers far exceed your inexperienced expectations and the Federal Reserve has no real grip on inflation, inflation which will certainly affect this good fella on Martha’s Vineyard rightfully concerned at the moment that your welcomed visitation will adversely affect his business which has taken every bit of entreprenurial fortitude to nurture only to see it become another victim of an administration and Congressional membership which prefers “rushing through a healthcare plan” almost overnight without ensuing debate on a matter which will affect the sixth and seventh and so on and so forth descendents of our forefathers who have forewarned us of just such treachery….

You need not foster this iconic Kennedy image and his dedication to healthcare reform for a growing number of fellow proud Americans and especially those of us from Taxachusetts and very well enlightened to the $16 Billion federally and state funded “Big Dig” and its tax dollars spending frenzy for shoddy construction which has already cost one precious Life and numerous leaks (see: bigdiglifevest.com)as we see with disgust the incestuous behaviors of many of our state legislators showing their priority of self-agenda versus the interests of the majority. Senator Kennedy will not even retire and allow a yonger man to take the reigns and vote. He prefers to keep his personal docket of appointments rather than show up for each and every vote…By the way, let’s all look at the illustrious John Kerry voting record…

Mr. President, you have to earn approval ratings so you are taken to task by all who truly care about this nation under God..

Hopefully after your travel plans which have already taken you twice around the world and over New York on a busy afternoon evoking memory and fear and out on a date costing some say $50k an hour to walk the streets of New York City…(I do give you credit though as unlike the Governor of South Carolina not choosing to tell DHS, the Lt. Governor and more importantly the good people of South Carolina that he would prefer romantic strolls in Argentina)…

We’ve seen enough and we are very, very worried by the lack of enthical behavior and the lack of transparency…telling the truth…

This know it all attitude is nothing more resembling of the bully…In fact I just learned that in Massachusetts, even if you differ with the Department of Revenue on tax assessments and inform the Commonwealth that such differing opinion will be challenged by appropriate legal response, an individual’s license can be suspended. What intimidation….Levy an account, place a lien on property, however unless an action is criminal or even if one is not in communication over a reasonable amount of time, the only taxpayers in this country who can survive a license suspension by the Department of Revenue or any other government agency are the numerous government officials being drievn by chauffeur.. How in God’s name would a lawful taxpayer in dispute be able to earn his/her income…Talk of our guns being taken away, the right to bear arms and so on and so forth….

By the way, since I have your attention Mr. President, what type of civil defense do we have implemented in case of calamity? Police and Fire Chiefs worry that desperate 911 calls at this very moment cannot be dealt with in timely manner because the Federal government will not step in and help fund an assure minimum in appropriate community response determined by Fire and Police Chief allowing the local pollticians to threaten the public that unless it approves unretrained budgets, there is no promise that anyone will show up! There is no doubt this is criminal…

Have a terrific vacation and I do hope that your healthcare reform package meets with much scrutiny as I had hoped the stimulus package had encountered…Do we have more than 50% of the stimulus monies out to the street Mr. President for CNN and Fox News tell us differently and after all the Pelosi-Frank mentality assured us the importance of getting into Main Street USA…

We understand that this partisan politics will never cease just as the Palestinians and Hebrews will continue to be used by those pulling the strings. I used to worry about the palestinians kids in Hebron and Jericho getting a chance as I have walked their streets and see an apathetic Arab League arriving to their respective meetings in Amman and other places with their Mercedes…We as Mr. & Mrs. Citizen Joe truly worry about our own kids and not only about their education, but a certain devalued dollar and a third world standard of living…

Where has become of beloved America?

God Bless us all!

Christopher Tingus
Harwich (Cape Cod), MA 02645 USA

Comment by retroredux

August 4, 2009 @ 7:41 am

Mr Tingus,
Excuse my “plain speaking” but unlike you I am sadly just a high school educated woman in Texas. You seem quite dismayed that our nation’s President has chosen your community to vacation at- an odd attitude for someone in a town built on tourism in the middle of a recession to take. Fortunately from what I’ve seen, the majority of others in Martha’s Vineyard do not seem to share your feelings.

I found your “calling up” of our nations founding citizens, the immigrants, quite ironic.

Yes, they never “asked” for anything from our government-when in fact there was nothing to give them. Most of those immigrants were looked upon by the time’s business interests as nothing more than grease to grind the wheels of industry. That selfsame industry never felt the need to provide dispensation for their workers as they were expendable to them.

Many died from lack of funds for proper food, housing and care. Those who were not ridden to an early death by the big business interest of manufactoring, building our nations Rail system, and of course, most notably, killer cotton of my dear old South-others felt “fortunate” to live in unsafe, slumlord owned tenements, or hardscrabble farms, happy to see even a fourth of their children survive past toddlerhood.

Let’s take a trip: let’s get one of those founding citizens and bring him or her into our present day. I would show then EXACTLY what our beloved America has become-a nation truly for the people, a nation who has realized it’s true “manifest destiny”-that ALL of our nation’s citizenry are equal. That a person who makes an honest effort at a decent living will and SHOULD be afforded certain inalienable RIGHTS.

What would that person-perhaps one of the hundreds of thousands who died from Influenza, for example-would say to your stance that health care for all citizens is “the final nail in the coffin” of America?

Rights sir, not privileges of the upper echelon-that selfsame echelon you seemingly belong to-that echelon who is content to make his living on his employees backs, but unwilling to stand up for those same employees whom have gained a life of ease for you-but in doing so is paid such a low living wage that it is NOT living sir, but dying.

Please continue to delude yourself think that the 40 million uninsured are non working “blights” on our system-Reagan’s “welfare queens”, right? When factually, most on public assistance WORK-but our paid such a low wage in relation to our nations cost of living that many could not survive without public assistance. The working poor that wealthy business interests like you built their “American Dream” on. You want entitlements to end? Start paying a FAIR living wage then.

You complain about being taxed for the needs of the “lower orders” but in actuality your party has done everything in it’s power for decades to abolish a fair living wage: therefore GUARANTEEING that the gulf between the wealthy and “everyone else” has become a chasm.

So when these hardworking “cogs” in our great nation cannot even afford to provide the basics of medical care for their families, they are forced to hear from people like you-who connotate their desperate need as a “handout”.

As to third world standard of living-you seem to have had your eyes shut for the pasts few years- you confused where that standard sprang from and now how it will end. More and more Americans have fallen into that standard for many years-only to be ignored by your party. No more. People of good conscience are coming forward. A new day is dawning where all Americans will finally get the right afforded us by our citizenship. The right to affordable health care for all.

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