Akron-Canton, Youngstown-Warren Airports Will Screen Private Planes Bound for Cleveland During RNC Convention

If own your own plane and plan to fly to Cleveland during the Republican National Convention your first stop may be in Akron or Youngstown.

The Federal Aviation Administration has decreed that the skies over Cleveland will be restricted airspace and private planes must stop at Akron-Canton Airport or Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport for security screening before being allowed to land at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport or Burke Lakefront Airport.

Akron-Canton AirportOfficials expect about 750 private and charter flights to bring delegates, VIPs and visitors to Cleveland during the convention, which runs from July 18-21.

The FAA said the restrictions for Cleveland during that time will be similar to those imposed at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

Planes that depart from one of the 160 airports in the U.S. that can provide security clearance before takeoff will be permitted to fly to Hopkins or Burke airports.

But flights originating elsewhere must be inspected at Akron-Canton or Youngstown-Warren airports.

The security procedure involves identification checks, physical screening of passengers and crew, and aircraft inspections.

Eric Berg of Avflight at Akron-Canton Airport expects a stream of planes to be touching down during the convention.

In some instances, passengers landing at Akron-Canton or Youngstown-Warren will park their plane there and drive to Cleveland.

The Transportation Security Administration will provide the security checks and plane owners must make an appointment.

Officials said that Akron-Canton and Youngstown-Warren were selected as security checkpoint gateways because of their expansive ramp space for parking aircraft, particularly in cases in which passengers will finish their journey by highway.

Hotels near the Akron-Canton and Youngstown-Warren airports  also expect to cash in on that business because rooms in Cleveland are sold out.

During the convention, planes towing banners will not be permitted in the skies over Cleveland and some other flight activities will be prohibited.

The restrictions will be enforced between July 17-23 and include a 30-nautical mile radius or about 34.5 miles on the ground from Quicken Loans Arena where the convention is being held.

Within an “inner ring” of either 3 nautical miles or 10 nautical miles of the Q, depending on the specific time, all flights will be prohibited except for:

■ Scheduled commercial flights operating under standard procedure.

■ Law-enforcement and Department of Defense operations.

■ Air ambulances.

■ Flights headed to or from Hopkins International or Burke Lakefront airports that have been cleared by the Transportation Security Administration.

In the “outer ring,” meaning the rest of the 30 nautical mile radius, aircraft must have a filed flight plan and maintain radio communication with air-traffic controllers.

Planes operating in that zone must be flying to or from airports within the zone, although “work load permitting,” controllers may allow transits.

Model aircraft, drones and model rocketry will all be prohibited throughout the entire restricted airspace, as will be crop dusting, hang gliding or balloon flights.

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