Thursday, June 12, 2014

Pilots face restrictions during Obama visit to UC Irvine ceremonies

Private pilots will be prohibited this weekend from flying through areas around Palm Springs International Airport and Anaheim, where President Obama is scheduled to speak during UC Irvine's 50th anniversary ceremony at Angel Stadium.

From 5:30 p.m. Friday until 8:30 a.m. Saturday, only airlines, law enforcement aircraft and medical-related flights will be allowed within 11 nautical miles of Palm Springs International in order to accommodate Obama's arrival.

Private pilots will be able to fly between 11 and 30 nautical miles from Palm Springs International and use airports within that airspace. However, they must file flight plans, communicate with air traffic control and use transponders that broadcast a code that identifies their aircraft.

Within that ring, a number of flight operations also will be prohibited, including flight training, practicing instrument approaches, aerobatics, banner towing and sightseeing.

A nautical mile equals about 1.15 miles.

The same airspace limitations will apply between 1:45 p.m. Saturday and 12:30 p.m. Monday, when the president is scheduled to depart.

More restrictions will be imposed from 8:15 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. in Anaheim on Saturday during Obama's visit to the university's anniversary event and his commencement speech.

Only airlines, law enforcement flights and medical-related aircraft will be allowed to fly within two rings that are 10 and 13 nautical miles from Angel Stadium. Meanwhile, general aviation aircraft can fly in a circular corridor that is 32 nautical miles away.

As a result of the restrictions, private pilots will not be able to land and takeoff from some airports, including Fullerton, Los Alamitos and John Wayne.

If they want to fly in the 32-mile ring, general aviation pilots also must file flight plans, communicate with air traffic control and use transponders.

In addition, flight training, practicing instrument approaches, aerobatics, banner towing and sightseeing are among the banned activities within that airspace.

There will be some exceptions and accommodations for private pilots who want to land and takeoff from Palm Springs International during some of the restricted periods.

Prior to their flights, those pilots can undergo security screening by the Transportation Security Administration at Ontario International Airport and Palm Springs International between 1:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday.

To be screened, pilots must register with the TSA at least 24 hours before their scheduled departure by calling 909-472-0140. Pilots, crew and passengers must present the TSA with valid government-issued photo identification.


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