Government Police and Fire South Orange

With President Trump in Bedminster, No Helicopter Visits for Local National Night Out Celebrations

South Orange Village President Sheena Collum greets the helicopter.

Updated: South Orange National Night Out 2018 was canceled due to severe weather.

In recent years, the National Night Out observance in South Orange, NJ has had a big highlight — a helicopter landing or flyover in Flood’s Hill.

However, tonight’s celebration will be devoid of helicopter due to the fact that President Donald J. Trump is on a working vacation at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, NJ.

South Orange was scheduled for a NorthSTAR Medevac helicopter flyover this year, piloted by NJ State Police, according to South Orange Police Chief Kyle Kroll: “We were scheduled for a flyover due to the fact that they are alternating between years of landings in order to spread it around.”

However, Kroll noted, “That being said, I just reached out to the Trooper that flies the helicopter and due to President Trump being in Bedminster all air space around same is grounded. He will advise me if there is any last minute change but as of now no one will unfortunately will be getting a visit in this area.”

According to reporting in The New York Times, “Each time the president visits Bedminster, the federal authorities implement temporary flight restrictions, or T.F.R.s, which create a no-fly zone within a 10-mile radius of the golf course during his stay.”

Furthermore, air traffic is largely restricted within a 30-mile radius where “Pilots may use the runways at the smaller airports, but they must employ an extra level of communication with air traffic controllers. They must also file a flight plan for each trip, proceed directly out of the restricted area without lingering, and may not conduct flight training there.”

While these restrictions are in place for all sitting U.S. presidents, the frequency of Trump’s visits to Bedminster and Mar-a-Lago in Florida have put a strain on local aviation operations in those locations. Trump’s visits to New Jersey have been less frequent this summer, but still have an outsized impact. As Frank Steinberg, vice chairman of the New Jersey Aviation Association, told the Times, “This is a nonpartisan issue, but the other presidents, they were flying into more remote places. This is smack in the middle of the most densely populated state in the country and the busiest airspace in the world. You have nearly two dozen airports directly affected by these T.F.R.s.”

Related stories:

This what happens at NJ airports when Trump visits Bedminster, NorthJersey.com, April 26, 2018

Trump’s Visits Ground Business at Small New Jersey Airports, The New York Times, July 20, 2018

Trump N.J. visits putting big dent in small airports’ business, USA Today, August 8, 2017

When Trump plays golf here, these folks are grounded, NJ.com, June 6, 2017

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