TFRs Over Martha's Vineyard Could Have Been Much Worse

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, among others, is thankful for small favors when it comes to President Obama's vacation week on Martha's Vineyard, off the coast of Massachusetts. For the first time since post-9/11 temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) were instituted to protect the president, general aviation aircraft are allowed within the 10-nm inner ring of the standard-size protected zone. They must submit to security screening, depart from one of several predetermined jumping-off airports and apply for permission at least 72 hours in advance, but at least it is still possible to fly a Cessna 172 to the main airport on the popular summer tourist island. Not so fortunate is Katama Airfield, the grass strip on the island's south side, where it is possible to taxi right up to the beach. Without sufficient security facilities, Katama is all but shut down during the eight-day TFR, along with the lucrative sightseeing flights that help feed the airport's bottom line. Access to airports within the 30-nm outer ring are less restrictive, but pilots still need to be on an active IFR or VFR flight plan and be squawking a discrete transponder code. If your plans involve flying anywhere near Martha's Vineyard or Cape Cod, you'd best read up on the notam and file a flight plan. For more input on the process of vacation flying near a sitting president, click here to read this week's Flying Tip of the Week by Mark Phelps, sponsored by Bendix/King by Honeywell.