Skydivers grounded as First Family pays visit to North Shore

Skydivers grounded as First Family pays visit to North Shore

MOKULEIA,OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - When the weekend weather is good, Dillingham Airfield in Mokuleia is buzzing with activity from the skydiving and glider businesses there. But all aircraft were grounded Saturday as President Obama and the First Family paid a visit to the area.

The President, his family and their motorcade arrived shortly after one o'clock at the home of Obama's high school friend Bobby Titcomb. The residence is right across Farrington Highway from the airfield, where Skydive Hawaii owner Frank Hinshaw and his staff weren't flying.

Instead, they were wielding paint brushes.

"We're just touching up the paint, the trim, the seats," said Hinshaw. "Whatever color extra paint we have, we're trying to apply it while we don't have customers here, and we did some 'spring cleaning' inside."

Hinshaw said Saturday's weather was near-perfect for skydiving.

"We'd have a hundred customers here," he said. "That's about how many we cancelled yesterday when we got news of the president's trip out here."

Hinshaw estimates he lost $20,000 to $25,000 while his business was grounded. Still, he said he's fortunate because Obama stays in Kailua, on the other side of the island, and comes to Mokuleia for just one day.

"Most VIP TFR's, temporary flight restrictions, would close everything within a 30-mile radius, so we're happy," he said.

The presidential visit also meant that people headed to Kaena Point had to make other plans, as police and the Secret Service shut down the highway at Mokuleia Beach Park.

"We saw a sign at (Waialua Intermediate and High School) that said 'Welcome President Obama,' so we had a hunch that he might be headed up this way," said Kapolei resident Linda McGee, who got turned around at the park.

Other visitors had no idea that the president and his family were headed there.

"We went down there and we were looking for seashells just walking along the beach, and then we were leaving and that's when we were told that the president was coming, so we decided to post out here and wait," said Charity Doyle. She said she saw Michelle Obama briefly as the motorcade passed.

Even kite surfers adjusted, moving from Mokuleia Beach Park, which was closed, to another one just a little farther up the highway.

"Yeah, its traditional now, this is the season for Obama," said kite surfer Kevin "Top Hat" Senn. "We're used to it now, so it's not as bad as it used to be. The first time we were all kind of in shock that we couldn't go use the beach that we're normally using this time of year."

So for area residents, the disruption is just for one day. And it's still a beautiful day on the North Shore.

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