Government ‘Playbook’ Offers Clues about Trump’s Florida TFR

A TFR in effect whenever Donald Trump is at his Mar-a-Lago estate will affect business aircraft operations at Palm Beach International Airport. Wikimedia Commons/D Ramey Logan

Whenever Donald Trump visits Mar-a-Lago, his 126-room, 110,000-square-foot estate in Palm Beach, Florida, a presidential TFR will ring the property for a radius of 30 nautical miles to an altitude of 17,999 feet, a restriction that will impact pilots, corporate aircraft operators and countless aviation businesses in South Florida.

Details of the government’s TFR plan for Mar-a-Lago were revealed by the National Business Aircraft Association, which called VIP temporary flight restrictions such as this one a “blunt security tool” that pose challenges for business aviation, but nevertheless thanked the FAA, Transportation Security Administration and Secret Service for expanding the number of “gateway” airports allowing access to Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) during the times the TFR is in force.

“We have a playbook indicating what the FAA, TSA and Secret Service have planned for TFRs at PBI,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “While TFRs present extraordinary challenges for business aviation, and remain a blunt security tool that has remained largely unchanged for decades, these agencies’ efforts to utilize industry data to support expanded gateway options for this TFR are welcome.”

When the PBI TFR is active, all operations will be prohibited with the 10-mile inner ring of the TFR, except presidential aircraft; military aircraft supporting the Secret Service; approved law enforcement, air ambulance, and firefighting operations; and scheduled commercial and cargo flights operating under TSA Standard Security Programs. General aviation aircraft will be permitted inside the inner ring with use of the gateway airport procedures, which will be outlined in a POTUS TFR notam.

GA interests successfully advocated increasing the number of gateway airport locations to include three northern airports: Westchester County Airport in New York, Teterboro Airport in New Jersey and Washington Dulles International Airport. Southern gateway locations include Orlando International Airport and Ft. Lauderdale International Airport.

Many types of flight operations will be prohibited when the TFR is active, including flight training, practice instrument approaches, maintenance test flights, unmanned aircraft systems operations and others, putting a burden on pilots and aviation businesses.

“Going forward, we know that the economic impact of decreased business aircraft operations at PBI will be widely felt, and the government has agreed to regularly review these procedures, which we hope will identify greater efficiencies for this TFR, while also reducing the economic impact on operators and local businesses,” Bolen said.


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