FAA restricts flights over Trump Tower, Pence residence

Posted at 7:15 AM, Nov 11, 2016

People can wave “Love trumps hate” signs or burn the American flag in protest outside Trump Tower, but don’t even think about flying over what the Trump Organization calls “the most prestigious intersection in all of New York City.”

The Federal Aviation Administration has imposed temporary flight restrictions over Donald Trump’s gleaming Manhattan high-rise as a safety measure following his victory in Tuesday’s presidential election.

The zone has a 2 nautical mile radius and bars flights below 3,000 feet, where Trump Tower is located, according to the FAA. Military aircraft supporting the US Secret Service and emergency aircraft are exempt.

The restriction, which cites “VIP” movement as the reason for its implementation, expires January 21, the day after the president-elect’s inauguration.

A similar flight restriction was issued for the Indianapolis residence of the incoming vice president and current governor of Indiana, Mike Pence.

The FAA flight restrictions over Trump Tower went into place the moment the Republican nominee was declared the winner.

Flight restrictions for “VIP movement” are routine and the FAA is getting its marching orders regarding them from the Secret Service.

The restrictions also include the airspace and at airports where Trump’s Boeing 757 lands and takes off while he is president-elect. They apply to general aviation, not to commercial flights.

The Maryland-based Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association said on its website that the order for Trump Tower restricts access to the popular Hudson River corridor, which offers aviators “a breathtaking view of the New York City skyline and also bustles with helicopter activity from companies offering sightseeing flights and business flights between helipads in the city.”

“AOPA respects the need to provide increased security for President-elect Donald Trump, but we will work to see if there is a way to balance the restrictions while maintaining (general aviation) access to the airspace,” Nobuyo Sakata, AOPA director of aviation security, said on the site.

The AOPA said temporary flight restrictions have “become more common in the post-9/11 heightened security environment, and often pop up on very short notice.”

In deference to the AOPA’s concerns, the FAA said late Thursday it has made a slight change to the restricted area’s western boundary, which is over New Jersey, to allow pilots to fly north or south along the Hudson River visual flight rules corridor.

Violation of the flight restrictions places a pilot’s certificate at risk and increases the likelihood of being intercepted by military or law enforcement aircraft, according to the FAA.

The FAA has issued TFRs near major sporting events, political conventions and nuclear sites.

The angular, 68-story Trump Tower — located on Fifth Avenue — has been the scene of numerous pro- and anti-Trump protests. As many as 5,000 people demonstrated there Wednesday, angered at Trump’s victory in the presidential election.