Trump’s Weekend Getaways Threaten To Doom Historic Airport
By Kurt Heine
ERWINNA, Pa. ― Steady rain drenches the grass airstrip. A gleaming 1928 biplane called the Bird of Paradise will stay in its hangar for now, behind the long-winged gliders and their towplanes that, in nicer weather, carry sightseers and thrill-seekers, and sustain tiny Van Sant Airport in rural Bucks County.
Bar Eisenhauer, an antique airplane buff who runs the two-runway airport with his wife, Dannie, said they can deal with bad weather, even though their livelihood depends on a six-month season of taking tourists for rides in old airplanes. Rain eventually stops, he said, and they can often squeeze in a few customers before dark.
But the Eisenhauers now face a problem far worse than no-fly weather ― something that threatens to put them out of business: President Donald Trump’s weekend trips to his golf club across the Delaware River in Bedminster, New Jersey.
“We never saw this coming,” Eisenhauer said the other day on the high ridge where the airport’s cozy office sits, stuffed with flying memorabilia and old black-and-white photos of airplanes and pilots. “Of all the things ― this is something that could be really, really bad.”
Trump, who campaigned on cutting business regulations and often touts his executive orders that do just that, has nevertheless created a red-tape death tangle for mom and pop airports in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Florida with his weekend travels to various Trump resorts.
Whenever the president leaves the White House, the Federal Aviation Administration imposes “temporary flight restrictions” that tightly limit nearby air traffic. General-aviation airports ― those serving private planes ― are closed to takeoffs and landings within 10 miles of the president’s location. Those outside that 10-mile ring, but within 30 miles, like Van Sant, can allow aircraft to arrive and depart if they’re equipped […]