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Presidential Visits Disrupt Chicago Airspace
When President Obama comes home to the Windy City, prepare for air traffic
congestion. More than 20 Chicago-area airports experienced significant operational disruption as a result of the presidential temporary flight restriction (TFR) imposed during a recent weekend. The TFR centered on downtown Chicago, near the President's residence, and extended out as far as 30 miles and up to 18,000 feet.
Besides disrupting air traffic during Obama's arrival and departure, the TFRs played havoc with Chicago airspace while he was on the ground there. Part 121, 125 and 135 operators in compliance with the TSA's Standard Security Program (SSP) had access to O'Hare and Midway Airports, but general aviation and business aircraft not on an SSP were required to land in Rockford or Peoria, Ill., or South Bend, Ind., to be vetted by the TSA before being allowed to proceed to O'Hare or Midway. Aircraft flying to any of the other airports within the TFR were required to receive and adhere to a clearance to enter the airspace. If Obama sticks to his plan to visit his Chicago residence at least once every six weeks, similar TFRs will be enforced nearly three dozen more times throughout his first term.