Pentagon Closes Airspace Over Annapolis for Obama Visit

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The U.S. Northern Command has ordered the closure of airspace around Annapolis, Md. for President Barack Obama’s meeting with Democratic senators on Wednesday.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a notice to airmen on Monday that was circulated on Twitter by the U.S. Northern Command.

The president will join Senate Democrats at their annual retreat at the Westin Hotel in the Maryland capital.

The FAA notice said the temporary flight restrictions are for "VIP movement," a sign the president will travel to Annapolis by Marine One helicopter, instead of traveling by road in his limousine for the approximately 30-mile-trip.

Air travel is restricted in two radii around Annapolis, a 10-mile inner circle around the city and a larger 30-mile zone.

The restrictions also ban "banner towing operations," sightseeing flights, radio-controlled model aircraft flights, model rocketry, and unmanned aircraft systems.

The flight ban takes effect from 9:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesday and could limit aircraft on the southern approach to nearby Baltimore-Washington International Airport, as well as several small airfields.

"All aircraft operations with the 10 nautical mile radius area listed above as the inner core are prohibited except for military aircraft directly supporting the U.S. Secret Service and the office of the president of the United States," the notice stated.

"Coordinated and approved law enforcement, air ambulance and firefighting operations must receive approval prior to entering this airspace … to avoid potential delays."

Commercial and cargo aircraft in the inner zone are limited to jets and planes arriving or departing local airfields.

"Aircraft may not loiter," the notice said. "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."

The flight restrictions include a ban on flight training, aerobatic flight, glider operations, seaplane flights, parachute operations, ultralight and hang glider flights, and balloon operations.

A Northern Command spokesman said the command routinely retweets such notices because "NORAD enforces [temporary flight restrictions] established by the FAA."

NORAD is the North American Aerospace Defense Command that is co-located with Northern Command headquarters in Colorado Springs.

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