A temporary flight restriction (TFR) around Vice President Richard Cheney’s new house could end up being permanent – at least until the next election.
Cheney recently bought an 18th century house named Mount Misery on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. On Nov. 22, a TFR with a one-nautical-mile radius and a ceiling of 1,500 feet was established around the house. Since then, the FAA – guided by the Secret Service – has proposed making the TFR permanent.
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) immediately cried “foul” on the grounds that flight restrictions around other Cheney residences are in place only when he is there. The exception is his official residence on the Naval Observatory grounds in Washington, D.C.
FAA spokesman Laura Brown said the restriction “is classified as temporary, but there is no date set for it to be lifted,” so it remains in effect regardless of whether Cheney is there.
Mount Misery is just outside the town of St. Michaels, a well-known tourist destination. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld lives in the same neighborhood. The Mount Misery TFR butts right up against the Washington, D.C., ADIZ, which begins roughly eight miles west of Easton Airport (ESN).
Airport manager Mike Henry said that the Secret Service initially wanted the Mount Misery TFR to have a 10-mile radius. “It could have had a much greater impact on the airport,” he said. The smaller one-mile restriction does not interfere with airport traffic, although it is an additional inconvenience for pilots based there and for visiting sightseers.
AOPA President Phil Boyer said that his organization “will fight any attempt to establish a prohibited area for a vice president’s private property.” He insisted that “the time-limited TFRs that Cheney receives when he travels or stays at Jackson Hole provide adequate security.”
Secret Service spokesman Jonathan Cherry would not comment on why the Mount Misery TFR is in effect full-time. He would say only that similar TFRs are in place around the country, where the Secret Service and FAA believe they are appropriate.