Local pilots: Presidential visit hurting business - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Local pilots: Presidential visit hurting business


Local pilots say the aviation business has suffered since President Barack Obama came to Virginia Saturday. The temporary flight restriction (TFR) surrounding the President's stay has kept planes on the ground for days, costing pilots tens of thousands of dollars per day.

The President has been staying at Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg since Saturday to prepare for Tuesday night's debate against Mitt Romney. 

The no-fly zone surrounding his stay has restricted what airplanes can fly in the area, which is standard for a presidential visit.

What isn't is the length of time the TFR has been issued: for four days.

"It is very frustrating," said Matt Crabbe, a Hanover-based pilot and aviation business owner. "We are on timelines."

Crabbe owns and flies planes meant for crop dusting. He expects to lose almost $100,000 dollars because of this presidential visit.

He's not the only one who's losing money. Flight schools, pest control operators and the farmer's who rely on crop-dusting are all affected.

Moving forward, Crabbe is working with the TSA through the National Agricultural Aviation Association to try to get background checks for pilots who need to fly in restricted areas while the president is in town. 

Until then, Crabbe says, the aviation industry and businesses linked to it, will continue to suffer.

President Obama is expected to leave Kingsmill Resort at 11:50am Tuesday morning from the Williamsburg Airport to then head to New York for the debate.

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