Campaign TFRs Escalate Concern


The FAA says it’s working on ways to adequately warn pilots of “pop-up” temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) that will become much more common as the election campaign goes into full swing. It’s expected that no-fly zones for GA will accompany not only President Bush, but Vice President Dick Cheney, Democratic contender John Kerry and whomever his running mate will be. “This is something we’ve really been struggling with,” said FAA spokesman William Shumann. He said the agency has been working on the issue since long before the campaign started in earnest. He said the FAA is cooperating with various aviation groups to try and get the word out, but not everyone is getting the message. Take, for instance, the plight of Thomas Colacurcio, who thought he was taking a short hop last month from Medina Airport in Ohio to another airport to buy discounted fuel. Colacurcio, who may not have checked with the FSS because of the short duration of the flight, lifted off in the middle of a TFR surrounding Bush’s visit to Cleveland. An Air Force fighter on his wing was Colacurcio’s first hint that something was awry. The Cleveland TFR affected more than 30 public and private airports. But Colacurcio, who faces FAA sanction, can take some comfort in the fact that plenty of others are making the same mistakes. At least 10 pilots skirted the edges of the Cleveland TFR and last Friday a light plane was forced to land at Opa Locka Airport in Florida after busting a presidential TFR around Miami.