Contributed by Wendi Strauch Mahoney
President Trump’s estate, Mar-a-Lago, is reportedly creating a stir in the skies. Planes can no longer fly as they please in that airspace while President Trump is in residence. Non-compliance will mean the presence of a “fighter pilot hanging off their wing,” says former U.S. Air Force officer David Norton.
Needless to say, this will be an adjustment for aviators. Pilots are not used to the restrictions but they will have to get onboard quickly. Federal officials report that “since last month, at least 27 aircraft have violated a temporary restriction on the airspace near Trump’s estate.
The FAA is rolling out social media, webinars and outreach campaigns to educate pilots on the new restrictions. They are required to stay outside a “30 mile ring of his mansion.” First offenses will be likely be given a warning but eventually violators could have their licenses suspended.
After being forced to land, the pilots will “be met by Secret Service and you are going to spend many hours explaining why you were there,” Norton said. Pilots are “responsible for checking notices as part of their flight preparations so they’re aware of any presidential-airspace issues that could affect them.”
While in the air, hand signals, wing rocking, and flares are used to gain the pilot’s attention. The violations can also become dangerous—possibly resulting in shooting the plane down if signals are ignored. That is a scenario no one wants to see. Pilots are “responsible for checking notices as part of their flight preparations so they’re aware of any presidential-airspace issues that could affect them.”
About a month ago, two Air Force F-15s produced a sonic boom in pursuit of an aircraft that flew into the restricted space. Michael Kucharek, a spokesman for North American Aerospace Defense Command says that fighter jets have to go at speeds of about “750 mph to make a sonic boom.” They do not like to fly at those speeds over residential areas because it creates a very loud boom and could alarm “folks on the ground.”
The local airport in Boca Raton is also reportedly working hard to communicate the new rules with their pilots.
H/T: Sun Sentinel
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