Sheesh. It must be silly season again because politicians are spending time in Florida to gin up votes. Another VIP TFR was activated to shut down or severely restrict Florida airspace because Obama needed to spend a couple of hours and give a speech at Disney World.
The Secret Service completely closed down Main Street USA to tourists, so Obama could make his speech using Cinderella’s Castle as his backdrop. How obtuse and out of touch can our leaders be?
Anyway, this latest TFR popped up a day before a planned business trip in the Bonanza to Sarasota, SRQ. My departure airport was Leesburg (KLEE), just inside the 30 NM ring. I needed to do some research to see if I would even be allowed to fly.
The TFR NOTAM reads like this:
For operations within the airspace between the 10 nm and 30 nm area(s) listed above, known as the outer ring(s): All aircraft operating within the outer ring(s) listed above are limited to aircraft arriving or departing local airfields, and workload permitting, ATC may authorize transit operations. Aircraft may not loiter. All aircraft must be on an active IFR or VFR flight plan with a discrete code assigned by an air traffic control (ATC) facility. Aircraft must be squawking the discrete code prior to departure and at all times while in the TFR and must remain in two-way radio communications with ATC.
Fortunately for me, being in the outside ring allowed me to depart as long as I was IFR and talking to ATC, so I was cleared to depart.
My friends based at Orlando Executive, KORL, were stuck inside the No Fly Zone 10 nm ring and completely grounded.
When I arrived at the airport, I was almost expecting a visible show of force by Secret Service or TSA dudes in black SUVs, vetting all departing pilots. Fortunately that was not the case.
The best part of the day was on my way back to Orlando after my meeting in Sarasota. Just north of Lakeland, Orlando Approach called out traffic at 12 O’Clock and two miles, 500 feet below. It was a Mooney traveling in the same direction. I smoked him!
When I landed at Leesburg, that same Mooney called the tower for landing, still 6 miles out.
Here what the TFRs looked like on the Avidyne EX500 with XM weather on the outbound leg to Sarasota: