FAA's flight restrictions for Obama visit include drones - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

FAA's flight restrictions for Obama visit include drones

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

While President Obama and the first family are here flights over Oahu will be restricted. The most restrictive zone covers a radius of 10 nautical miles from Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe.

"Private pilots aren't going to be able to fly in that area. Airlines can.  Law enforcement and military aircraft can," Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said.

Makani Kai Helicopters owner Richard Schuman said his tour pilots won't be able to fly customers over the Windward side.

"The FAA and the Secret Service have a very good comfort level that they can maintain the security for the president of the United States while he's here in Hawaii," he said.

A less restricted area extends from 10 to 30 nautical miles from the base.  Private pilots can fly in that zone under certain circumstances. But flight school Moore Air will have to leave the restricted area to do its lessons.     

"For general aviation light airplane you're probably adding about an hour for the students. The travel time is not necessarily very constructive," company president Mark Jones said.

The restrictions will affect operations at Skydive Hawaii.

"We have to get our pilots vetted. We have to call and get approval for every flight. Our aircraft must stay within five miles of Dillingham Airfield," owner Frank Hinshaw said.

The airspace over Oahu will also be a no-fly zone for drones.

"They can fine you. They can arrest you. You are violating a secure perimeter," drone hobbyist Jenly Chen said. "The best thing to do is not risk it all."

"Absolutely nobody can operate any unmanned aircraft including model aircraft for any purposes even if you just want to fly it for fun in the restricted area," Gregor said.

The FAA recommends aircraft operators check notices for updates.

"They've allowed tour operators to operate. They've allowed skydivers to operate.  They've allowed some flight training to operate. Nowhere else in the country do they allow that to happen when the president is traveling," Schuman said.

The flight restrictions will last throughout the president's stay from Friday through January 3.

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