Temporary flight restrictions to come with President... - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Temporary flight restrictions to come with President Obama's visit

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Mark Jones Mark Jones
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By Teri Okita – bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Air tours and flight schools know that TFR's or temporary flight restrictions just come with the territory when there's a presidential visit.

They were hoping that secret service and others would do a little compromising and it worked.

Mark Jones is flying pretty high right now... happy that, this Christmas, he'll be back in business.

"Last year, we were effectively shut down," Jones said.

Transportation security officials banned flight schools, like Jones' "Moore Air," from flying to and from Kalaeloa airstrip during the president's entire two-week stay in Hawaii. Jones' company lost about $40,000. Local air operators estimate a combined loss of about half-a-million.

This time around, the General Aviation Council of Hawaii met with the TSA, the FAA and secret service to hammer out a workable plan that will keep the president safe while keeping businesses flying.

There will be a 10-mile "no fly zone" around the Obamas' vacation home in Kailua and a 30-mile ring past that with limited flights.

"For example, a person can't just get in their airplane and go fly now. You have to be on a flight plan. And you have a bunch of other requirements," General Aviation Council of Hawaii's Joe Kiefer said.

Talks between security officials and local air operators actually began after the Obamas' last Christmas visit here. The local operators seemed generally pleased with the cooperation.

Operators will have to provide names of all their students and flight instructors who will be flying during that period to TSA and they can't offer any introductory lessons to foreign students. Certain flying skills will also be banned.

"We can't go on out in the area and just maneuver and do turns because it concerns the security agencies when we start turning the plane where the President is located," Jones said.

The eased restrictions allow for tour operators to fly five different tourist routes around Oahu while working within security constraints.

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