Hawaii's TFR Eases Grip On GA

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When President Barack Obama visited Hawaii for Christmas 2009, it practically shut down general aviation on the island of Oahu for two weeks, but this year the temporary flight restriction is much less onerous. Last year, flight schools were shut down and tour operators were grounded, costing the locals about a half-million dollars in lost business. This year, the FAA, the TSA and the Secret Service worked with the General Aviation Council of Hawaii to craft a less-restrictive plan (PDF) that will allow local pilots to keep flying. A 10-mile zone around the Obamas' Kailua vacation home will be closed to GA, but outside of that, flights will be allowed, with certain restrictions. For example, flight plans must be filed for every flight, and flight schools will have to provide names of students and flight instructors to the TSA.

Tour operators will be allowed to fly on designated routes during the president's visit, with prior approval. Pilots must file a flight plan for every flight in the restricted area, and maintain two-way radio communications. No introductory lessons can be offered to foreign students. The president's family left for Hawaii last Saturday, but President Obama stayed in Washington longer than planned to work on an arms treaty with Russia.