Friday, April 27, 2012

Presidential TFR Delay

I was planning a short joyride to FT Lauderdale for lunch last week.  However, President Obama was in town and the corresponding temporary flight restriction (TFR) made my home airport a "no fly zone" until 3:15pm.

Apparently, the president didn't know (or care) about my plans... So I had to wait till he was gone. So much for the proverbial $100 hamburger :-(

It was such a nice day, I at least wanted to go for a joyride anyway.  But i knew TFRs can sometimes  get unexpectedly extended.  So, I wanted to ensure that I didn't violate any airspace rules.

The easiest way I have found to stay legal in situations like this is to simply file IFR.

It felt odd to file an instrument flight plan for a short 160NM trip in beautiful weather... But I did it anyway with a planned departure time of 3:16 PM.

I got to the airport to found a bunch of pilots loitering and waiting for the president to "get out of the way"

After finishing the preflight, I joined the crew loitering in the pilots lounge.  Then ~ 2:55, one of the other pilots heard from Lockheed Flight Service that the TFR was about to be terminated a few minutes early!

Immediately, the lounge cleared out as everyone (myself included) scurried to their aircraft to prepare for departure.  I finished my run-up and called Tampa Approach for my clearance @3:08.  

They immediately cleared me with a void time of 3:16 and I was airborne by 3:12!!

(I know it was only a couple of minutes early... But it felt like a minor consolation)

Apparently others had the same idea as me because the Tampa approach frequency was very crowded.  After I departed from the immediate area, things got back to normal.

The weather near my destination had deteriorated a little which you can see below:

Luckily FXE was perfectly positioned right between all of the precipitation.

So after an uneventful, dry landing, I ended up hanging out in Ft Lauderdale and having dinner on the beach instead of lunch.  

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